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Moolaadé (2004)



Average Rating: 8.3/10
Reviews Counted: 73
Fresh: 72 | Rotten: 1

A vibrant, powerful, and poignant glimpse into the struggles of women in modern Africa.


Average Rating: 8.4/10
Critic Reviews: 29
Fresh: 29 | Rotten: 0

A vibrant, powerful, and poignant glimpse into the struggles of women in modern Africa.



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Average Rating: 3.9/5
User Ratings: 1,665

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Movie Info

Pioneering Senegalese filmmaker Ousmane Sembene directed this controversial drama which deals in part with the barbaric practice of female genital mutilation (generally involving removal of the clitoris and temporary closure of the vagina), which is still practiced in a number of African nations in the name of "purification." Six girls who are scheduled to undergo the traditional purification ceremony escape, and four make their way to the home of Colle Ardo Gallo Sy (Fatoumata Coulibaly), a

Dec 11, 2007

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All Critics (78) | Top Critics (30) | Fresh (72) | Rotten (1) | DVD (4)

This masterwork by Ousmane Sembene, the 81-year-old father of African cinema and one of Senegal's greatest novelists, is the second film in a trilogy celebrating African women.

October 22, 2007 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Ousmane, who wrote and directs, gives strong flavors to his characterization of village life and its peoples. But as drama the film mostly serves to illustrate the two sides of this crucial social debate in Africa.

October 30, 2006
Hollywood Reporter
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This is an impassioned and uplifting film.

June 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's certainly clear where the director stands on the issue, but underneath is a far richer film about the complex issues of globalization and the values of tradition.

July 21, 2005 Full Review Source: Arizona Republic
Arizona Republic
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A story told in music, vivid imagery and ritualistic movement.

April 15, 2005 Full Review Source: Toronto Star
Toronto Star
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A stirring vision of civil but pointed disobedience.

February 25, 2005 Full Review Source: Denver Post
Denver Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Thrilling and alive and far more entertaining and exciting and easy to watch than just about any message movie you have ever seen... a cinematic triumph of the highest order.

February 15, 2010 Full Review Source: Antagony & Ecstasy
Antagony & Ecstasy

The eightysomething Sembene delivers a powerfully acted and colourfully shot polemic. A perceptive observation of daily life in an African village that celebrates female bravery and solidarity.

October 22, 2007 Full Review Source: Film4

Poetic, provocative and unstoppably powerful. But, depressingly, it probably won't change a thing.

April 1, 2006 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

Every character is a symbol for Sembene to realize his humanistic visions in a folklore type of cinema.

March 6, 2006 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Though Moolaadé doesn't shy away from the task of educating its viewers about the brutality of 'purification,' it works equally well as a tribute to righteous defiance wherever it surfaces.

September 26, 2005 Full Review Source: AV Club
AV Club

Tthe most exuberant films ever made about female circumcision.

June 21, 2005 Full Review Source: Not Coming to a Theater Near You
Not Coming to a Theater Near You

Solemnity rarely taints Sembéne's films; his anger and indignation are invariably tempered by his warmth, humour and generosity of spirit.

June 7, 2005 Full Review Source: Sight and Sound
Sight and Sound

Sembene provides not only a fascinating glimpse into the culture of tropical Africa, but also a powerful account of the social turmoil which bubbles beneath the surface.

May 31, 2005 Full Review Source: BBC

"Moolaade" works as a stirring parable for any community where progressive citizens and regressive policies collide.

May 27, 2005 Full Review
Capital Times (Madison, WI)

Never less than vivid.

April 29, 2005 Full Review Source: Oregonian

Moolaade is an amazing film -- colourful, in-your-face, thick with intense conversation -- and because of the subject matter, it's simultaneously fascinating and repellent to watch.

April 22, 2005 Full Review Source: Jam! Movies
Jam! Movies

Tackles a seriously important issue without losing the vibrant energy of everyday life.

April 6, 2005 Full Review Source: Shadows on the Wall
Shadows on the Wall

A film made with anger and passion that is in parts infuriating, inspiring and heartbreaking.

March 23, 2005 Full Review Source: Zertinet Movies
Zertinet Movies

There's a lot to admire in Moolaade, including the way in which the filmmakers lay out the premise and necessary story details within the first 10 or 15 minutes.

March 18, 2005 Full Review Source: Deseret News, Salt Lake City
Deseret News, Salt Lake City

A righteously angry movie, [but] also a joyous movie, because Senegalese director Ousmane Sembene ... fills every moment with song and color and life.

March 18, 2005 Full Review Source: Salt Lake Tribune
Salt Lake Tribune

Audience Reviews for Moolaadé

[font=Century Gothic]"Shake Hands with the Devil" is a documentary about Romeo Dallaire, who was the commander of the United Nations forces in 1994 in Rwanda as he tried unsuccessfully to prevent the genocide with an underfunded and undermanned mission. Dallaire, whose hands were tied, still acted in the behavior and manner of a professional soldier while saving lives. Afterwards, he suffered mental anguish, by wondering if there was anything more he could have done. The lesson of the movie is that a life is worth saving no matter where they live and that we all have a responsibility to stop this.(And it may be happening again in the Darfur region of Sudan...) [/font]
[font=Century Gothic][/font]
[font=Century Gothic]"Shake Hands with the Devil" traces the origins of this genocide back to before 1960 when Rwanda was a colonial possession of Belgium and how those colonialist and racist attitudes fueled the racist hatred. Plus, it explains that this could have been stopped, not only by a better commitment to United Nations forces but also simply by the world's powers taking a stand.[/font]
[font=Century Gothic][/font]
[font=Century Gothic]"Shake Hands with the Devil" is an emotionally, powerful documentary. This is absolutely necessary viewing.[/font]
[font=Century Gothic][/font]
[font=Century Gothic][color=red]"Moolaade" is a movie from Africa directed by Ousmene Sembene. Six young girls escape to avoid Purification(or to be much less delicate - genital mutilation). Four wind up going to Colle because they have heard that she prohibited her daughter from undergoing the ceremony, even though this was frowned upon by the village elders and might affect her daughter adversely. Colle invokes Moolaade(protection) for the girls. Colle has her reasons for being against the ceremony of Purification. She suffered through the ceremony. Her first two babies were born dead; the third lived but it was a messy affair.[/color][/font]
[font=Century Gothic][color=#ff0000][/color][/font]
[font=Century Gothic][color=#ff0000]"Moolaade" is an intelligent, thoughtful movie about gender roles set in an African village. The only major point against this movie is that it ended on a particularly false note.[/color][/font]
May 31, 2005
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

Disturbing and moving story of a minor womens' lib that protects young girls from circumcision in a great movie about this unfortunate practice.
January 27, 2012
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

A very unelegant subject is dealt in this movie elegantly... director Ousmane Sembene brings a story where the practice of female circumcision is everyday issue in a small village in Burkina Faso in such a way that the 2 h 4 min fly why we are drawn into the magic of his work.

A movie which is a must for every lover of African cinematography.
August 4, 2009
Panta Oz

Super Reviewer

While the film could use some trimmimg, this may be one of the most important films to ever come out of Africa. It comfronts the terrible practice of circumcision on the young girls in a small village. A woman in the town takes a stand against this disgusting practice, that often kills the girls, and she must contend with centuries of tradition and the hypocracy of the male leaders in the town. It is an interesting examination of a culture that is far different than our own. Not easy to watch, but it is a film that more people should see.
March 6, 2008
Alec Barniskis

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

  • Moolaadé (DE)
  • Moolaade (UK)
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