By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act August 20, 2013 at 12:08PM
From Portuguese director Inês Oliveira comes a drama titled Bobô - a film produced by Portugal-based production house, David&Golias.
The film follows a woman named Sofia, who lives alone in an old family apartment, and who, at the request of her mother, hires Mariama, a young Guinean, to help take care of the house and her son. The Bobô in the title is Mariama's younger sister, who is facing the threat of a practice rooted in gender inequality, also known as female genital mutilation. With Sofia wanting to leave the cocoon she's locked herself in, and Mariama's worries about her younger sister, the two women make a connection that forces them to confront their individual ghosts, and eventually join to fight a common cause.
Scheduled to next screen at the Toronto International Film Festival (making its international prremiere), the drama stars Paula Garcia, Aissato Indjai, Luana Quadé, Bia Gomes, Ângelo Torres, Maria João Luís, and Ricardo Aibéo.
Here's how TIFF summarizes the story:
In Lisbon, two women from different worlds — a privileged architectural illustrator and a cheerful housekeeper from the city’s Guinean community — join together to save a young Guinean girl from ritual genital mutilation, in this sensitive and intimate second feature from immensely talented Portuguese director Inês Oliveira.
As defined by the WHO, Female genital mutilation (FGM) comprises all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. While a traditional practice/rite of passage in numerous countries, FGM is recognized internationally as a violation of the human rights of girls and women. It reflects deep-rooted inequality between the sexes, and constitutes an extreme form of discrimination against women. It is nearly always carried out on children, and is a violation of the rights of children.
It's been a much-discussed topic, and has been tackled numerous times on film - primarily documentaries. The late great Ousmane Sembene's heartfelt Moolaadé is one recent fictional, scripted feature film that dealt directly with FGM. The film argues strongly against the practice, and is essentially a call for action, a call for change, an abandoning of what an age-old, brutal tradition.
Watch a trailer for Inês Oliveira's Bobô below (unfortunately it's not subtitled in English):