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The Parrish Art Museum will begin its spring film series, “Identity and Survival: Films on Religion and Immigration” with “Moolaadé,” which will be screened on Friday, April 11, at 7 p.m.

Throughout his career, writer/director/social activist Ousmane Sembene has examined the hardships facing African women and their capacity for resilience and heroism. In “Moolaadé,” he addresses the controversial subject of female circumcision, a common practice in a number of African countries, especially nations immediately south of the Sahara desert.

In a small village in Burkina Faso, as the ceremony of purification approaches, four young girls who don’t want to be circumcised run for sanctuary to a woman named Collé, known in the village as a rebel since she refused to have her own daughter cut in the ceremony years earlier.

Collé invokes the tradition of Moolaadé, a spell of protection that cannot be broken without incurring devastating retaliation by the spirits. Tying a string of colored yard across the entrance to her home keeps the girls safe within the sanctuary and keeps the angry village elders and ceremonial followers out.

According to The New York Times, “‘Moolaadé’ is certainly a potent and timely polemic against a custom that many Africans are turning against, but its dramatic richness comes from the generous, patient precision with which Mr. Sembene observes that social order in all its complex, sometimes contradictory aspects.”

“Moolaadé” has been nominated for seven international wards, and is the winner of six. It was named one of the best films of 2004 by film critic Roger Ebert.

Admission to the film is $7, or $5 for Parrish members. “Moolaadé,” written and directed by Ousmane Sembene, is in Jula and French with subtitles, not rated, and has a running time of 124 minutes. For further information, contact the public programs office at the Parrish at 283-2118, ext. 40.

Film series curator, film critic and educator John K. Turnbull will introduce the series and comment on “Moolaadé” prior to the beginning of the film.

The Friday night films will continue with “Kadosh,” part of the spring film series, “Identity and Survival: Films on Religion and Immigration,” on April 18, at 7 p.m.

The films in this series have been made possible, in part, through the New York Council for the Humanities, a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of the New York Council for the Humanities or National Endowment for the Humanities.

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