7.6/10
3,606
23 user 81 critic

Moolaadé (2004)

Unrated | | Drama | 9 March 2005 (France)
When a woman shelters a group of girls from suffering female genital mutilation, she starts a conflict that tears her village apart.

Director:

Ousmane Sembene

Writer:

Ousmane Sembene
6 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Fatoumata Coulibaly Fatoumata Coulibaly ... Collé Gallo Ardo Sy
Maimouna Hélène Diarra Maimouna Hélène Diarra ... Hadjatou
Salimata Traoré Salimata Traoré ... Amasatou
Dominique Zeïda Dominique Zeïda ... Mercenaire
Mah Compaoré Mah Compaoré ... Doyenne des Exciseuses
Aminata Dao Aminata Dao ... Alima Bâ
Rasmané Ouédraogo ... Ciré Bathily (as Rasmane Ouedraogo)
Ousmane Konaté Ousmane Konaté ... Amath Bathily
Bakaramoto Sanogo Bakaramoto Sanogo ... Abdou
Modibo Sangaré Modibo Sangaré ... Balla Bathily
Joseph Traoré Joseph Traoré ... Dugutigi
Théophile Sowié Théophile Sowié ... Ibrahima (as Moussa Théophile Sowié)
Habib Dembélé Habib Dembélé ... Sacristain
Gustave Sorgho Gustave Sorgho ... Bakary
Cheick Oumar Maiga Cheick Oumar Maiga ... Kémo Tiékura
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Storyline

In an African village this is the day when six 4-9-year-old girls are to be 'cut' (the act of female genital mutilation) All children know that the operation is horrible torture and sometimes lethal, and all adults know that some cut women can only give birth by Caesarean section. Two of the girls have drowned themselves in the well to escape the operation. The four other girls seek "magical protection" (moolaadé) by a woman (Colle) who seven years before refused to have her daughter circumcised. Moolaadé is indicated by a coloured rope. But no one would dare step over and fetch the children. Moolaadé can only be revoked by Colle herself. Her husband's relatives persuade him to whip her in public into revoking. Opposite groups of women shout to her to revoke or to be steadfast, but no woman interferes. When Colle is at the wedge of fainting, the merchant takes action and stops the maltreatment. Therefore he is hunted out of the village and, when out of sight, murdered. Written by Max Scharnberg, Stockholm, Sweden

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Set in Burkina Faso, an inspiring story about a group of women who stand up for their rights against the traditions of their village

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film is included on Roger Ebert's "Great Movies" list. See more »

Goofs

In the film one kilogram (1 kg or 2.2 lb) of bread is shown in multiple instances to be equivalent to one (French) baguette. This is a massive over representation of the weight of a baguette, which in reality is typically around 0.25 kg (or approx. 0.5 lb). See more »

Connections

Featured in At the Movies: The Best Films of 2004 (2005) See more »

User Reviews

 
Not just African....
3 June 2006 | by movietrailSee all my reviews

By total coincidence, I found myself at the Japan premiere of this intriguing film. I had no idea what it was going to be about, so it was fascinating to watch unfold. But, unlike most of the reviewers I have read so far, I did not think of it as an "African" film. I have seen the dynamics present in this film played out in many cultures and religions around the world, including the "West".

Meaningless tradition in the face of humanity is a universal theme and this film sends the message clearly home. Anybody who watches this film and smugly thanks their lucky stars that they weren't born in such a barbaric culture, has totally missed the point. They may even be part of the problem in their own culture, though unwittingly, as that is exactly how tradition works.

But enough about the message of the film. Even with the heavy subject matter at hand, the film takes us through the leisurely- paced life in an anonymous sub-saharan village, and we get treated to many of the joys and even the humor of their daily life as well. I believe the director would like to say that village life, and even many traditions, are not inherently good or bad; in fact many will probably feel even some envy of the idyllic village and its rich culture. This, however, also happens to be the backdrop of a ritual whose meaning is long forgotten, not to mention excessively cruel. And cities are plenty filled with cruelty of different types.

The fact that the director is male makes the impact of the film all so much stronger, as he shows no sympathy to men in general, and sees the weakness of the female role in African culture (which is just an extreme picture of sexual discrimination everywhere; and ironically men are always giving lip service to women). Thus the general shortage of strong men in the story may be pointed out as one of the film's weaknesses. On the other hand, the women are all top-rate actresses and their roles are realistic, and the near absence of character clichés (among major characters) is almost stunning.

The story is simply told, and many may think it is all too painfully obvious, but I think it is a work to observe on multiple levels: e.g., when the story seems not to be moving ahead we get a chance to learn about village life (albeit not unrelated to the overall work), or we get generous helpings of the character development of the three wives. Subtle interactions among villagers may bore some, but I found them fascinating. It's not made like some Hollywood movie, and thank God for that.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Language:

Bambara | French

Release Date:

9 March 2005 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Haha tachi no Mura See more »

Filming Locations:

Senegal

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$11,982, 17 October 2004

Gross USA:

$215,646

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$495,270
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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