I am overwhelmed by the amount of film work I would like to do and am struggling to keep up. I will  mention briefly here Ousmane Sembène’s Moolaadé to signpost it for myself for later consideration.  It is a film that cannot be missed in any list of women’s films.

I chose it for this month’s film group for two reasons.  In the past weeks FGM (female genital mutilation or cutting) has made the headlines in the UK.  I also chose it because I often disagree with people who, with no specialist  knowledge, insist that in other cultures older people are respected for their wisdom, experience etc…

It is impossible to give Moolaadé the praise it deserves without knowing more than I do  about West Africa, and reading more about Sembène screenings of the film in Africa’s villages. He made it for an African audience and he repeats in his interviews that one must know Africa to understand it fully. He points out that traditionally the hero is a male warrior brave in battle. He considers that resistance to achieve freedom is as courageous and heroic and that  re-creation of Africa will not be achieved without women.I will only point out a few elements  that impressed me on a first viewing. The main character who achieves change in this film is Collé, a woman who rebels against the practice of women’s circumcision or cutting. Her militancy is based on her personal experience. Two of her babies died in utero and she had a caesarean for the third. In spite of all pressures from the older generation, female and male, she did not let her daughter suffer her fate. It is interesting that her rebellion is carried to the younger generation as four little girls about to be cut run to her for protection. Collé  also gains the support of her senior, the first wife in this three wives household. We have here solidarity between three generations of women who fight for freedom. 

This brief synopsis does not do justice to the film that I hope to research further.

About rinaross

Born in 1935. MA in Film and Television Studies at the University of Westminster 1998. Studying the representation of older women in film since then.
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