Tamilnadu Thiraippada Iyakkam

This entry is part [part not set] of 41 in the series 20080320_Issue


Tamilnadu Thiraippada Iyakkam,

Federation of Film Societies of India (TSLO)


National Folklore Support Centre

Jointly present

Contemporary World Cinema


6.00 P.M.: Carravaggio

Derek Jarman / UK / 1986 / Col / 90 Min


6.00 P.M.: Moolaade

Ousmane Sembene / Senegal / 2004 / Col / 120 Min


The film is a fictionalized re-telling of the life of Baroque painter Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio.

Jarman’s movie is involved with the love triangle of Caravaggio (NigelTerry), Lena (Tilda Swinton)

and Ranuccio (Sean Bean) and dwells upon

Caravaggio’s use of street people, drunks and prostitutes as models for his

intense, usually religious paintings (see the article on the painter for

examples). As with Caravaggio’s own use of contemporary dress for his

Biblical figures, Jarman depicts his Caravaggio in a bar lit with electric lights,

or another character using an electronic calculator.

The film is notable for its texture and attention to detail, the

intense performances and the idiosyncratic humor. By presenting

Caravaggio as one of the founders of the chiaroscuro technique, it helped

give expression to the legend that was beginning to form around him.

Jarman’s Caravaggio also suggests that his legend ultimately eclipsed

his enormous talent.

Caravaggio was the first time that Jarman worked with Tilda

Swinton and was her first film role. The film also features Robbie

Coltrane, Dexter Fletcher, Michael Gough and Nigel Davenport. The

production designer was Christopher Hobbs who was also responsible

for the copies of Caravaggio paintings seen in the film.


Moolaadé is a 2004 African film by Senegalese director Ousmane

Sembène. It addresses the subject of female circumcision, a common

practice in a number of African countries, especially nations immediately

south of the Sahara desert. The film is set in a village in Burkina Faso,

and was filmed in the remote village of Djerrisso, Burkina Faso. The film

argues strongly against the practice, depicting a village woman, Colle,

who uses moolaadé (magical protection) to protect a group of girls. She

is opposed by the villagers who believe in the necessity of circumcision,

which they call ‘purification’.

In an African village this is the day when six 4 to 9-year-old girls

are to be circumcised. All children know that the operation is horrible

torture and sometimes lethal, and all adults know that some circumcised

women can only give birth by Caesarean operation. Two of the girls have

drowned themselves in the well to escape the operation. The four other

girls seek “magical protection” (moolaadé) by a woman (Colle) who

seven years before refused to have her daughter circumcised. Moolaadé

is indicated by a coloured rope. But no one would dare step over and

fetch the children. Moolaadé can only be revoked by Colle herself. Her

husband’s relatives persuade him to whip her in public into revoking.

Opposite groups of women shout to her to revoke or to be steadfast, but

no woman interferes. When Colle is at the wedge of fainting, the

merchant takes action and stops the maltreatment. Therefore he is hunted

out of the village and, when out of sight, murdered.

Venue: Indian School of Folklore

(Academic Wing of National Folklore Support Centre)

#505, 5th Floor, Kaveri Complex,

96, Mahatma Gandhi Road, Nungambakkam,

Chennai – 600 034. Ph: 28229192 / 42138410

(Behind Hotel Ganpath)

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