Moolaadé - Purification?

Quick Thoughts: Moolaadé (2004)

Made by Ousmane Sembène this is the Burkina Fasoan movie of the series.

All round, Moolaadé is a well-made film, though it is not perfect. Nonetheless, this is a devastatingly powerful movie that, with a perfect balance of drama, direct social commentary and genuity, hit something deep within me, leaving me entirely drained.

Moolaadé is centred on the topic of female genital mutilation as it follows a group of young girls that escape the local women who conduct the mutilation and find shelter with a woman who had, seven years previously, stopped her own daughter from being mutilated. Over the course of the narrative, Collé, the protector of the girls, keeps them sheltered with a symbolic gesture of Moolaadé, which is a rope tied across the entrance to her house. However, the local men and many of the women instigate growing social pressure upon Collé and all of those attached to her as to convince her to break the Moolaadé and allow the mutilation in the village to resume as normal.

In showing Collé's struggle, this narrative then becomes a parable through which the horrific effects of genital mutilation are implied - which include infection, infertility, chronic pain and death--often of young girls around the age of 5. This is a practice that, though it is outlawed in numerous countries throughout Africa, Asia and the Middle East, is often poorly overseen by authorities and so continues to this day with millions of women suffering under its consequences.

There is then little left to be said after watching this movie and conducting even a few minutes worth of research - or at least, I haven't the wherewithal to delve much deeper into this topic. Female genital mutilation is plainly a barbaric and inhuman concept and it is absurd that it is practised at all. However, and as this movie depicts, with ever growing resistance flourishing throughout the world thanks to modernisation and the spreading of media, there seems to be hope for change. To end, have you seen this movie? What are your thoughts?

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