This 1989 film was directed by Idrissa Ouedraogo, an African writer and director from Banfora (formerly Upper Volta) now Burkina Faso. His film highlights a theme that can be found throughout African cinema: the plight of African women. Though African men and women were once equal in antiquity, post-colonial modernity has led many to mistreat women through the use of a fabricated patriarchal system. In the film, Bila, a 10-year-old boy living in an African village, forms a bond with Sana, an elderly woman that the entire village has deemed a witch. Though the people of the village try to drive her away, Sana, who Bila refers to as ‘Yaaba’ (grandmother) manages to heal Nopoko, Bila’s cousin, after she falls ill. Throughout the movie, we find that Sana is perhaps the kindest individual in the village, yet the most mistreated.
Directed by Ousmane Sembène, a Senegalese filmmaker who many refer to as the father of African Cinema, Moolaadé tells the story of the struggle between tradition and modernity. When Collé Gallo Ardo Sy grants “moolaadé,” or spiritual protection, to a group of girls to protect them from the traditional, yet sometimes fatal, act of genital mutilation, she brings about a divide within her village. Though she suffers the consequences, she stands her ground.