Director: Ousmane Sembene
Year Released: 2004
For the amount of movies the West pumps out, few I've seen are as pro-woman as this last film by African director Sembene, which takes on a very real issue of female circumcision and a woman's rights over her own body. The strong Collé (Fatoumata Coulibaly) offers magical protection for four little girls who don't want to 'be cut' (and run the risk of dying), but her defiance goes directly against the rule of the village elders (who insist that only circumcised females may marry). Though hardly subtle - no one should be confused by any of this - Sembene's filmmaking style is beautifully lived-in, allowing his characters to wander, to talk, to argue, and it all comes together with conviction (I've always credited his background as a novelist), plus it acts as defense of the freedom of information, as TVs and radios are viewed as tools of the devils by the oppressive males of the village. Though I've never exactly thought of either the radio or television as tools of enlightenment, I suppose the world would indeed be a worse place without NPR, the BBC, CNN and those lovely clitoral hoods. Fight the power.