Ousmane Sembène

Senegal 2004, 124 min.


Spoken language: French, Bambara

Subtitles: Dutch

With the aid of a traditional curse that changes her house into a refuge, one woman opposes the ancient circumcision tradition.

In a small community in an unknown place in West Africa, four weeping, frightened girls are running away from their approaching circumcision ceremony. They find shelter and protection with Collé, who herself was mutilated by a difficult delivery, caused by her circumcision. Years ago she refused to have her daughter circumcised. Collé calls a moolaadé upon her house, a traditional curse that ensures her that her fellow villagers will not enter her house and take away the girls. This leads to fury and derision among the village men: what man would want to marry a girl who has not undergone the ritual and is not 'pure'? In response to Collé's protest, the village elders forbid the women to listen to the radio any longer, thinking it is the outside world that puts these ideas into their heads. In this film, 81-year-old director Ousmane Sembene, the father of African cinema, broaches the universal themes of the inevitability of modernisation and women's liberation.



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