Moolaadé

"Excellent"

Moolaadé Review


Growing up in America, a self-proclaimed melting pot, there is always an enormous mix of cultural customs visible on the streets every day. But one custom that has not made it to our shores and seems extremely inhumane is that of female circumcision.

81-year-old writer-director-author Ousmane Sembene has been a provocative force for social change in his native Africa for over 50 years. Though most of his films do not get distributed on U.S. soil, they are a solid reminder of human rights issues that still need to be addressed. With his latest, Moolaadé, he gracefully illustrates the organizing of mothers in a small rural community to keep their daughters from being "purified".

What makes Moolaadé such an engaging film is how the uprising of these mothers is gradually mixed into the simple moments of daily livelihood of the community. Everyone has chores, be it going to visit the mercenaire (Dominique T. Zeïda) for batteries or picking up water. The revolt is gently begun by several children who come to Collé (Fatoumata Coulibaly) seeking protection, as it is known she refused to have her daughter, Amasatou, (Salimata Traoré) cut. Adding to the tension is that Amasatou is supposed to marry a rich son of an elder who will shortly be returning home for the ceremony and the circle of women which performs the ritual insists along with the men that the union cannot take place unless Amasatou undergoes the procedure.

Collé is an amazing character to watch and a heroic symbol of the film overall. In many religions and myths, the name is associated with the goddess of birth and death. Collé, like the film, is beautifully structured to respect the environs in which she must live while quietly promoting a healthier change for women. And because she understands the inner circle of which she must participate, the slow sway of her peers to support her feels genuine and allows for a sense of hope, even as you feel pain for the young girls that cry.

It can be difficult to keep track of names, relations, and some of the verbal history that maintains certain rites of passage in the film, but there is not a single wasted minute or character onscreen. Though centered more on Collé's fight than anything else, the ensemble cast provides a moving portrait of the varying mindsets in such a structured society, and what it takes to create such a drastic change in routine. All of these various threads, from chauvinism to Amasatou's role as an outsider, to the pressure Collé's husband receives for her insurrection, culminate in a truly powerful scene as Collé is whipped in front of the village in an attempt to make her say the word that will lift the protective curse, or moolaade, she has placed on the children she is harboring.

In making this a fiction film instead of a documentary, Sembene brilliantly crafts a stunning work that encourages you to empathize instead of simply shocking you with painful imagery. Moolaadé is a fascinating story of honest heroism that manages to entertain even as it enlightens about an agonizing operation that should be stopped.

Reviewed as part of the 2004 New York Film Festival.



Moolaadé

Facts and Figures

Run time: 124 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 9th March 2005

Box Office Worldwide: $214.6 thousand

Distributed by: New Yorker Films

Production compaines: New Yorker Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 99%
Fresh: 72 Rotten: 1

IMDB: 7.6 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Collé Gallo Ardo Sy, Maimouna Hélène Diarra as Hadjatou, Salimata Traoré as Amasatou, Dominique Zeïda as Mercenaire, Rasmane Ouedraogo as Ciré Bathily, Joseph Traoré as Dugutigi, Théophile Sowié as Ibrahima, Balla Habib Dembélé as Sacristain, Gustave Sorgho as Bakary, Moussa Sanogo as Konaté fils, Naky Sy Savane as Sanata, Georgette Paré as Niassi

Contactmusic


Links


Advertisement

New Movies

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

After the thunderous reception for J.J. Abrams' Episode VII: The Force Awakens two years ago,...

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Like the 2015 original, this comedy plays merrily with cliches to tell a silly story...

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

There's a somewhat contrived jauntiness to this blending of fact and fiction that may leave...

Ferdinand Movie Review

Ferdinand Movie Review

This animated comedy adventure is based on the beloved children's book, which was published in...

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Director Dave McCary makes a superb feature debut with this offbeat black comedy, which explores...

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

A dramatisation of the real-life clash between tennis icons Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs,...

Shot Caller Movie Review

Shot Caller Movie Review

There isn't much subtlety to this prison thriller, but it's edgy enough to hold the...

Advertisement
The Disaster Artist Movie Review

The Disaster Artist Movie Review

A hilariously outrageous story based on real events, this film recounts the making of the...

Stronger Movie Review

Stronger Movie Review

Based on a true story about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, this looks like one...

Only the Brave Movie Review

Only the Brave Movie Review

Based on a genuinely moving true story, this film undercuts the realism by pushing its...

Wonder Movie Review

Wonder Movie Review

This film may be based on RJ Palacio's fictional bestseller, but it approaches its story...

Happy End  Movie Review

Happy End Movie Review

Austrian auteur Michael Haneke isn't known for his light touch, but rather for hard-hitting, award-winning...

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Seemingly from out of nowhere, this film generates perhaps the biggest smile of any movie...

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

A Victorian thriller with rather heavy echoes of Jack the Ripper, this film struggles to...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews