Moolaade (2004) what a movie of exceptional brilliance by Senegalese writer director Ousmane Sembene. The movie derides the dastardly practice of female genital mutilation practiced in many parts of Africa and builds a beautiful story around it. Moolade means “magical protection” and Colie, the second wife of her husband gives protection to four small kids who come running to her crying about the impending purification. Colie’s daughter Amasatou also did not undergo the forced circumcision seven years previously. The elders of the village including the menfolk gang up against Colie and threaten her with dire consequences. The first wife also comes around to her point of view. Colie’s husband meanwhile returns from his trading trip and on being accosted with the news goes against Colie and whips her in front of the villagers. The radios which the women listen to during their household chores and in the night are confiscated from everybody and put in a junk in the center of the village to be burnt, because the elders feel that radios are corrupting the women of the village by giving them bold ideas. In the meanwhile, Ibrahim who is the son of the village headman returns from Paris laden with goods but is still hesitant to go against his elders despite his foreign upbringing. Ultimately it all ends in a beautiful climax when the entire women of the village go up together and end the brutal practice of female genital mutilation. A powerful movie of much depth, anguish, tragedy, emotions and understanding. An evil practice is beautifully sought to be abolished through a strong story line, solid acting by all the cast members, superb camera work, cinematography, music (by Boncana Naiga). Very difficult to single out any single actor for their performances but Fatomouta Coulibaly as Colie has done a bravura performance. The first wife has also acted very well. The movie is a co-production between Senegal, Cameroon, Burkina Faso, Morocco, Tunisia along with France. It has won a clutch of awards including at Cannes, Marrakech among others.

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