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I've been chewing on Les Saignantes for over a year now. Immediately after I saw it, the aftertaste was a little bitter from the dark cinematography and the unexpected beginning. However, the benefit of a discussion with other movie-goers and the writer/director sweetened my palate a bit. The rich and varying perspectives about the film's futuristic time period, western and African cultural influence, sexuality, political plot, and the feminist subtext made quite a fattening but flavorful dessert. Since then, the wave of American movies about Africa, intense international focus on African markets and development, unprecedented philanthropic attention from the likes of Bill Gates and the Clinton Foundation, the election of Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf as Liberia's first female president, and a trip to Africa last summer has seasoned the relevance and significance of Les Saignantes for me. The film's political and cinematic irreverence provokes what every great film is supposed to - controversy, thought, change, and creative precedent. Les Saignantes pushed me to open my taste buds to a new flavor of African cinematic fare that may be ahead of its time, but definitely worth the bite.
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