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September 2004
First Look: Moolaade

First Look: Moolaade

Release Date: October 15, 2004
Distributor: New Yorker Films
Director: Ousmane Sembene
Languange: Jula and French with English subtitles.

One of the most acclaimed films at the 2004 Cannes, Telluride and Toronto Film Festivals, directed by Africa?s legendary director Ousmane Sembene. Immediately after the New York Film Festival, Moolaadé will open in New York on Friday, October 15 at Lincoln Plaza Cinemas and Cinema Village followed by a national release.

Drawing upon classical African storytelling traditions, Moolaadé candidly explores the confrontation between the centuries-old rite of female circumcision and modern humanist values in contemporary Africa. The conflict brings mythic dimensions to a very current debate, as four girls escape from a ritual purification ceremony in an African village and seek refuge with Colle (Fatoumata Coulibaly), a strong-willed woman who has managed to shield her own daughter from mutilation. Colle agrees to offer them safe haven by invoking the Moolaadé, an ancient spell that promises harm to anyone who tries to violate her protegés. However, the rebellion against the time-honored tradition infuriates both the village elders and the local women in charge of performing the ceremonies, and soon throws the entire village into turmoil.

Telling the powerful story of one woman's resistance to a traditional practice, Mr. Sembene offers a rich portrait of a modern African village torn between spirit worship, Islam, and globalization. With his usual incisiveness, humor, and social commentary, Mr. Sembene offers yet another indelible portrait of a strong heroine, and conveys a state of profound liberation and jubilation only an artist of his stature could achieve.

81 year-old novelist and director Ousmane Sembene has been considered the Father of sub-Saharan cinema and one of the masters of world cinema since his 1966 ground breaking first film and first black African feature film ever made, Black Girl. Since then, Mr. Sembene has tackled African life, traditions, family, especially women?s emancipation in post-colonial society, with such masterpieces as Guelwaar, Mandabi, Xala and Faat-Kine.

"A masterpiece of political filmmaking, Mr. Sembene addresses this upsetting subject (female circumcision) with unflinching candor, but he also portrays African village life with such warmth, humor and generosity of spirit that you leave the film feeling both horrified and exhilarated." -- A.O. Scott, The New York Times

"Magnificently beautiful, Moolaadé is a film of great urgency. A strong, true and useful film
that resonates with life." -- Roger Ebert, The Chicago Sun Times.

Moolaadé opens on October 15 at Lincoln Plaza Cinemas and Cinema Village


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