By Gayathri Naga
Moolaadé (means Magical Protection) is a movie by veteran Senegalese writer and director Ousmane Sembène. This film talks about the subject of vital importance but often ignored female genital mutilation.
Female Genital Mutilation- A Short Intro
Female genital mutilation might seem an extremely horrific ordeal to you and me but it happens to women in over 27 African countries including Kurdistan, Yemen, Sudan, South Sudan and Nigeria.
Female genitalia including clitoris is completely or partially removed without administering anesthesia, it is cut using a knife or an iron sheet, then stitched back with a needle or a thorn. Due to this, intercourse and childbirth become extremely painful to women. 20 out of 1000 women who undergo mutilation die during childbirth. 15 % of the girls die due to infections because of the unhygienic method followed. The locals defend this process and believe in its necessity because they consider it as ‘Purification.’
What do you need to know about this film?
This film was shot in the remote village of Djerriso, Burkina Faso. The plot revolves around the film’s strong female protagonist, Collé, a villager who uses moolaadé aka order of protection that holds a magical potency to protect the four girls. How Collee a woman of the tribe manages to save four girls and inspire the villagers to stop the cruelty becomes the plot of the movie.
You should watch it because…
February 6 has been declared by UN as an Awareness Day for Observing Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation. The movie is a shocking narrative taking us to look at the African village through the lens of a villager who have grown up in a land where female genital mutilation is considered okay.
Sembene, directed this film at the age of 81 and he has lived, suffered and laughed enough to give the film the kind of intricate political maturity that films mostly lack these days. Sembene turns his camera to a much ignored third world country perched far away from the prying eyes of media. Creating a signatory statement that would have a lasting impact.
The movie was awarded the Prix Un Certain Regard in Cannes Film Festival 2004. The movie was appreciated in film festivals across the globe. After all these years, the movie was uploaded for free in Youtube to spread awareness of the ordeal.
One cannot finish watching this movie without an upsurge of outrage and pain. This film is an enriching educational experience that might come across as quite slow in the beginning when the scene is set. Also, some of you might find it a task to watch because it is in an alien language; but you always have subtitles to guide you.
The custom of female genital mutilation may be half way across the world for us. It is enforced under the pretext of religion, though no religion says it is okay to mutilate a woman.
It is an instance of various incidents of sexual violence happening across the globe- be it a woman murdered by her in-laws because she brought less dowry, or a baby murdered in the womb because of her sex, or the humiliating virginity examinations or a woman drugged and raped in a club- it matters because it is the question of conscience of humanity.
Watch the movie and spread awareness so that (like Colle said) not one more woman’s body will be violated and mutilated.
Watch it here –
Tell us your views/ reviews of this film in the comments below.
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Views presented in the article are those of the author and not of ED.