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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.
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 99%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"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."
‑ Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
"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."
‑ Keith Phipps, AV Club
"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."
‑ Tim Brayton, Antagony & Ecstasy
"Every character is a symbol for Sembene to realize his humanistic visions in a folklore type of cinema."
‑ Dennis Schwartz, Ozus' World Movie Reviews
"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."
‑ Jamie Woolley,
"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."
‑ Kirk Honeycutt, Hollywood Reporter
"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."
‑ Richard Nilsen, Arizona Republic
"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."
‑ Tom Dawson, Film4
"Tthe most exuberant films ever made about female circumcision."
‑ Leo Goldsmith, Not Coming to a Theater Near You
""Moolaade" works as a stirring parable for any community where progressive citizens and regressive policies collide."
‑ Rob Thomas, Capital Times (Madison, WI)
"This is an impassioned and uplifting film."
‑ , Time Out
"A story told in music, vivid imagery and ritualistic movement."
‑ Susan Walker, Toronto Star
"Poetic, provocative and unstoppably powerful. But, depressingly, it probably won't change a thing."
‑ David Parkinson, Empire Magazine
"Solemnity rarely taints Sembéne's films; his anger and indignation are invariably tempered by his warmth, humour and generosity of spirit."
‑ Philip Kemp, Sight and Sound
"Never less than vivid."
‑ Shawn Levy, Oregonian
More reviews for Moolaadé on Rotten Tomatoes