Pic: Cinema Humaine / www.cinemahumain.com
Written and directed by Reina-Marie Loader and produced by Kit Reynolds of International Radio Pictures, the 29-minute film looks at the traditional but highly controversial practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in North African countries.

Loader was inspired to make a film about FGM after reading Waris Dirie's “Desert Flower”. “I was so impressed by Ms Dirie's courage as an African woman who chose to speak up against what has been done to her as a child in the name of tradition,” says Loader.

Set in Somalia, the fact-based film explores the dilemma of a family on the eve of their daughter’s planned circumcision. A mother’s vivid memories of her own brutal and traumatic experience begin to cast doubt in her mind while her daughter prepares for the rite of passage that is demanded by their community and ensures social acceptance.

The film was entirely shot in South Africa with a local crew and cast. “We built an entire Somalian village in Irene, just outside of Johannesburg,” says Reynolds.

The purpose of the film “is to restore an awareness of the plight of women in these communities. We want to make people aware of the fact that what is happening doesn’t need to happen. This brutality can be offset by a symbolic ceremony,” Reynolds says.

In a process known as infabulation “everything is cut away and the girl is stitched up, leaving a small gap for urination and menses - all this without any kind of anesthetic,” says Reynolds. “Eventually when the girl gets married, her husband either cuts or tears her open for intercourse.”

“I am delighted that the film was selected for the Pan African Film Festival. Festivals such as PAFF represent the notion that film can play a role in combating these injustices or ensuring that they are never forgotten and repeated,” says Loader.

“I hope the audience will realize that what the film represents is the truth. It is something that is happening now with real physical and psychological consequences - perhaps not for men, but most certainly for the women,” she adds.

The Pan African Film Festival is attended by over 200 00 people and presents 175 quality films from across the world, showcasing the diversity and complexity of people of African descent.

The festival was started in 1992 and has been instrumental in promoting works of creative expression that uphold cultural and racial tolerance and education. Past festival features have included award winning films such as “Ray” and South African Oscar-winning film, “Tsotsi”.

See the trailer for “Cutting Silence” and find out more about FGM by clicking here.

Source: www.screenafrica.com / SAGN


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Steuart has done some 500 talks on South Africa's progress since 1994 and SA's prospects for the future'  Click Here