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Moolaadé (Protection) - Fatoumata Coulibaly, Maimouna Hélène Diarra, Salimata Traoré, Ousmane Sembene

Threat advisory: Elevated - Significant risk of entertaining activities

Movie propaganda

African cinema's founding father, 81-year-old Ousmane Sembene, continues to be its most fiery, provocative spirit. Extending the strong feminist consciousness that marked his previous triumph Faat kiné (as well as such earlier classics as Black girl and Ceddo), Moolaadé (Protection) is a rousing polemic directed against the still-common African practice of female circumcision.

The action is set in a small African village, where four young girls facing ritual "purification" flee to the household of Collé Ardo Gallo Sy (Fatoumata Coulibaly), a strong-willed woman who has managed to shield her own teenage daughter from mutilation.

Collé invokes the time-honoured custom of moolaadé (sanctuary) to protect the fugitives and tension mounts as the ensuing stand-off pits Collé against village traditionalists (both male and female) and endangers the prospective marriage of her daughter to the heir-apparent to the tribal throne.

Target demographic movie keyword propaganda

  • Film Africa agit-prop faminism drama genital mutilation tradition sanctuary protection

Persons of interest

  • Fatoumata Coulibaly .... Collé Gallo Ardo Sy
  • Maimouna Hélène Diarra .... Hadjatou
  • Salimata Traoré .... Amasatou
  • Dominique Zeïda .... Mercenary
  • Mah Compaoré .... Senior
  • Aminata Dao .... Alima Bâ
  • Ousmane Sembene .... Screenwriter
  • Ousmane Sembene .... Director

Cinematic intelligence sources

  • Moolaadé (Protection) official movie site
  • Moolaadé (Protection) film production notes
  • Moolaadé (Protection) QuickTime movie trailers
  • Awards and film festivals:
    • Cannes Film Festival 2004: Won: Prize of the Ecumenical Jury - Special Mention (Ousmane Sembene), Un Certain Regard Award (Ousmane Sembene)
    • European Film Awards 2004: Nominated: Screen International Award (Ousmane Sembene)
    • Image Awards 2005: Nominated: Outstanding Independent or Foreign Film
    • National Society of Film Critics Awards, USA 2005: Won: Best Foreign Language Film
  • NB: Bambara and French languages with English language subtitles
  • Studios and distributors:

Intelligence analyst

Special Agent Matti

Theatrical report

Involuntary genital mutilation is not something which any of us educated Western types see as a good idea. There was a time when we circumcised our baby boys as a matter of course (in fact, many of us weren't even asked: the doctor just did it) but now we're over that. There are some religious groups who see it as necessary but increasingly the rights of the child are being seen as more important than the rights of the parents. Moolaadé is a dramatisation of the issues surrounding Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in one African village, contextualised into the parallel issues of women's liberation, traditional cultures encountering the global community, education, Capitalism in the Third World and the universal struggle for self-empowerment.

Crikey, I feel like I just had a flashback to Communication and Cultural Studies 101. [See what a university education gets you? - Director of Intelligence.]

As a piece of cinema, Moolaadé is naive. As a piece of agitprop, Moolaadé is obvious (and utopian). As a look at life in Africa, Moolaadé is invaluable, if long. Still worth seeing, but.

Media intelligence (DVD)

  • Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • Languages: Bambora, French
  • Picture: Widescreen
  • Special features:
    • Trailers: Theatrical
  • Subtitles: English

Security censorship classification

M (Medium level violence, adult themes, medium level coarse language, medium level sex scene)

Surveillance time

125 minutes (2:05 hours)

Not for public release in Australia before date

Film: 7 July 2005
DVD rental: 12 July 2006
DVD retail: 8 November 2006

Cinema surveillance images

Moolaadé (Protection) image

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