This is one of the few festivals in the world that features African films: Écrans Noirs in Yaounde, Cameroon. A rendez-vous that lasts until July 23, and where filmmakers took hold of topics concerning the African continent. Hamadou Moussa Djingarey presents a shocking Nigerien film, Le Pagne, or the confession of Mariama, a young female victim of excision.
“My child, if you read my post on this loincloth, it is that you have reached your maturity. So, you have the right to know the whole truth.” Le Pagne is the confession of Mariama, a young female victim of excision and raped while she went to search for firewood. Le Pagne is the fabric on which Mariama wrote her life for her unborn child. Le Pagne is the film by a director, Hamadou Moussa Djingarey, that challenges traditions.
Giving voice to women
“Le Pagne is a way of giving voice to women,” says the 43-year-old director , because in our culture, the woman does not speak. If you noticed it in the film, the lead actress does not speak at all. She just has two retorts. So, through the film, we denounce this practice. Women must be involved in all decisions of the community. Very often, in our environment, the men impose. And at the end, people understood that the fact of silencing the woman often leads to fatal errors.”
“This film made many people cry”
“Disturbing the village, I faced the fear, hunger, thirst, and all that can be unhealthy in this life,” says Mariama in Le Pagne. For the film, too, the fear, the reactions of religious and traditional leaders had to be faced, but after several screenings in Niamey, Le Pagne has found its audience,” says Moussa Hamadou Djingarey: “This film makes many people cry because everyone, everyone who attended the screening have either experienced a theme of the movie or know of women who experienced these problems.”
The film, a means of education
At 43, the director believes more than ever in the strength of cinema: “You see in Africa the impact of films. Just by watching TV series, people change their lifestyles. The cinema is the only medium where you can stay at least an hour to try to understand the message. Cinema must be a means of education and awareness to our country.”
Tour de force: Le Pagne was shot entirely in Maradi, in southern Niger, near the border with Nigeria, and with a hundred percent Nigerien funding.
By Sébastien Jédor