Faces of Women | Chicago Reader

Faces of Women

105 minutes 1990

This 1985 debut feature by Ivory Coast director Desiré Ecaré gathered some attention for its steamy sexuality (the film was banned in its native country), though Ecare ultimately seems more concerned with establishing connections between economics and emerging African feminism than in providing erotic kicks (not surprisingly, the feminism that emerges owes more to tribal traditions of gender solidarity and rivalry than to modern ideological consciousness). The film divides into rural and urban halves (shot ten years apart), which Ecaré ties together with scenes of ritual music and dancing (less "authentic" than the folk sequences in Ababacar Samb's Jom, to which they've been compared: Ecaré's Africa is nothing if not a sociocultural hybrid). Naive and ragged by ordinary standards, but a lot of life breaks in where formalism breaks down. In French with subtitles.

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