In an African village this is the day when six 4-9-year-old girls are to be circumcised. All children know that the operation is horrible torture and sometimes lethal, and all adults know that some circumcised 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. —IMDb
Ousmane Sembène (January 1, 1923 — June 9, 2007), often credited in the French style as Sembène Ousmane in articles and reference works, was a Senegalese film director, producer and writer. The Los Angeles Times considered him one of the greatest authors of Africa and has often been called the “Father of African film.”
The son of a fisherman, Ousmane Sembène was born in Ziguinchor in Casamance to a Muslim Wolof family. He went to an Islamic school (common for many boys in Senegal) and to the French school, learning French and basic Arabic in addition to his mother tongue, Wolof. He had to leave his French school in 1936 when he clashed with the principal. After an unsuccessful stint working with his father (Sembène was prone to sea-sickness), he left for Dakar in 1938, where he worked a variety of manual labour jobs.
In 1944, Sembène was drafted into the Senegalese Tirailleurs (a corps of the French Army) in World War II and later fought for the Free French Forces. After… read more
Providing a glimpse into a culture hitherto unfamiliar, it’s an enchanting glimpse at that - and I say that without any condescension. Sembene delivers a straightforward but convincing polemic, as he dramatises the fall-out after the women in a remote village openly question, en masse, the place of ancient tribal norms in an increasingly liberalised world, much to the chagrin of their conservative husbands and the village patriarchy. Authentic, vibrantly photographed and wonderfully performed, the portrait painted is indeed an enchanting one.
Rome's question upon the first 10 minutes: "Is this really Africa?" At first it's a little cartoon-ish, too familiar from lampooning comic strips & sketch parodies, "The Lion King" even. But it ripens into something tender & really hilarious. Also, I loved learning about Burkina Faso: land of upright people, cinema and men of integrity. But of course "purification" has to be overseen by a man!
Powerful, but restrained. This is the first African film I've seen, and I was amazed. Sembene, as others have noted, has such a light touch. He avoids making sweeping judgements and allows every character to be complex and time to develop into someone fully fleshed. Visually, this is an overwhelming film. The choice of shots, use of colors, architecture, and camera movements are all so carefully planned. Stunning.
A serene and tranquil exploration of genital mutilation and a conflict that threatens to tear a village a part. Always languidly paced and socially conscious, Moolaade is formally well-executed and… read review