Combustible Celluloid
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With: Fatoumata Coulibaly, Ma•mouna Hˇl¸ne Diarra, Salimata Traorˇ, Dominique T. Ze•da, Moussa Theophile Sowie
Written by: Ousmane Sembene
Directed by: Ousmane Sembene
MPAA Rating: NR
Language: Jula and French with English subtitles
Running Time: 124
Date: 31/12/2004

Moolaadé (2004)

4 Stars (out of 4)

The Final Cut

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

At age 81, Senegal-born writer/director Ousmane Sembene delivers his twelfth feature film with Moolaadé, a striking and masterful look at ritual female genital mutilation. Four little girls flee a "purification" ceremony to seek refuge with Collé (Fatoumata Coulibaly), a kind of witch doctor, who, years earlier, refused to have her own daughter (Salimata Traore) cut. Rather than mounting a soapbox and preaching an earnest, punishing message, Sembene crafts a warm, graceful -- sometimes funny -- story full of fascinating, colorful characters. Following Sembene's Faat Kiné (2000), this is the second in a proposed trilogy about heroic women in daily life. [Note: director Sembene passed away in 2007, and New Yorker Video, which briefly distributed the two-disc DVD set, went out of business shortly thereafter, and the DVD has become a coveted collector's item.]

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