Moolaade (2004)

Dir. Ousmane Sembene

I think Penny, Grace and Kevin has the best chance of liking this, but I think there might be some things about the film that may temper their enthusiasm. (These elements bothered Larri, and I wouldn’t have expected them to.) Mitchell, Chris, Marc and Jill might also like this. The film got a metacritic score of 91. I’ll explain why I think the score was this high.

The film is about a woman (the second wife in an African village) who protects several girls from a ritual involving genital mutilation. (Note: there are really no graphic depictions in the film.) In this village, the ritual is essential for cleansing the woman and making them acceptable to marry. The men refuse to marry women who have not gone through the ritual, and thus sets up a cultural battle. The story also includes the way technology in the form of radio and other Western influences disrupt this village. It’s a feel good story that liberals would love. In my opinion, some of filmmaker’s decisions to create this good feeling is way over-the-top, akin to the kind of moves common in Hollywood feel good movies. But the woman has a strong Feminist component (”I am Woman. Hear me roar!”) that I could see the liberals (most critics) would really like this–hence, the score of 91. I would guess others wouldn’t be as bothered by this as me, but I was surprised that Larri agreed with me.

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