In a captivating new film evoking her superb 2018 documentary Chez jolie coiffure (New York African Film Festival 2019), which followed the proprietor of a hair salon in the African Matonge district of Brussels, director Rosine Mbakam returns to her home country of Cameroon to follow an equally charismatic protagonist: the good-natured yet exhausted seamstress Mambar (played by the director’s cousin, Pierrette Aboheu Njeuthat), struggling to make ends meet in the city of Douala. In trying to pay debts, raise children, and keep her business going, Mambar contends with continual mishaps and setbacks, each fortifying her against an uncompromising world. A drama of quotidian elegance fueled by the observational beauty of Mbakam’s nonfiction work, Mambar Pierrette quietly sneaks up on the viewer in its powerfully subtle representation of the ways in which women exist under patriarchal oppression. An Icarus Films release.
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