Moolaadé (2004)



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

Moolaadé Photos

Movie Info

Set in a small African village, four young girls face a ritual "purification" flee to the household of Colle' Ardo Gallo Sy, a strong-willed woman who has managed to shield her own teenage daughter from mutilation. Colle' invokes the time-honored custom of moolaade (sanctuary) to protect the fugitives, and tension mounts as the ensuing stand-off pits Colle' against a village traditionalists (both male and female) and endangers the prospective marriage of her daughter to the heir-apparent to the tribal throne.
Art House & International , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:


Fatoumata Coulibaly
as Colle Ardo Gallo Sy
Dominique T. Zeida
as Mercenaire
Mah Compaore
as Doyenne des Exciseuses
Aminata Dao
as Alima Ba
Salimata Traore
as Amasatou
Dominique Zeida
as Mercenaire
Show More Cast

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Critic Reviews for Moolaadé

All Critics (73) | Top Critics (30)

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.

Full Review… | October 22, 2007
Chicago Reader
Top 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 29, 2006
Hollywood Reporter
Top Critic

This is an impassioned and uplifting film.

Full Review… | June 23, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

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 25, 2005
AV Club
Top 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
Arizona Republic
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | April 15, 2005
Toronto Star
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Moolaadé

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

John Ballantine
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.

Panta Oz
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.

Alec Barniskis
Alec Barniskis

Super Reviewer

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