A Kenyan movie on “Female Circumcision” exudes a violation of the dignity of the young person’s body


Kenyan director Beryl Magoko is digging in her documentary in search 2018 in a painful experience. We are following a recent talk about a childhood abuse that grows bigger. When a young Kenyan director, immigrant in Germany, hears her friends talking about pleasure, she doesn’t understand what she means.

She realizes that she has been subjected to a permanent insult that is eternal deprivation. It is a violation of female circumcision practiced by relatives and not a strange executioner, so the interrogations are punctuated with a lot of crying … In the search for self, a director tells the story of her body to get him back from his executioners. She thinks about her circumcision and feels that she is no longer “normal”, after suffering a severe loss and a hindrance to her soul.

The film won the grand prize at the 11th edition of the International Documentary Film Festival in Khouribga, Morocco in December 2019. This year, the award was named after Moroccan novelist Saeed Yektain.

The mother claims that what she did with her daughter is from God, and what God has commanded is acceptable in Africa, where tens of millions of victims of circumcision are involved. But in Germany, the young woman understood other things, then she returned to her original homeland. Return to the wound site to settle scores with the past. She returns to a poor peasant village to showcase the portraits of pre-modern society women.

The scene is changing, instead of elegant illuminated urban spaces and shots of two modern characters who speak in a salon of wounds, feelings and dignity … The camera travels to Kenya, where agricultural spaces and shots are crowded. The individual spaces that allow women to express are over.

The camera shows Kenya from the plane. The director looked at her country with another eye. She got a spatial and emotional distance to reassess what happened. When she returned to her family, the reception was warm, waiting for the moment of confrontation with the mother, who does not see a sin in the circumcision of girls.

Here, a peasant community needs permanent women’s work, so love is a waste of time. Things are settled in the group. The mother appears at the front of the cadre and her daughters, who underwent circumcision, appear in the background of the cadre, showing shock on their faces, but they understand the truth of their mother.

The director gets sick, exhausted by emotion, and her mother treats her with a traditional medicine, then she offers her the next stage: looking for a husband. The mother has a life plan ready for her daughter, no experiment.

The victim who is telling her tries to express her suffering with the movements that simulate the event. Militants and experts speak cold language, while the victim speaks in a painful language. The doctor explains to the victim what they cut from her flesh and rolls to the bottom of an earthquake. The doctor understands, but the mother has other criteria. The atmosphere of dialogues in glass offices is different from dialogues in the fields.

The director – the victim lives a spiritual and physical pain. Here the mother gets out of the scenario and reveals her anxiety in a society unlike any other in Germany. The director seems to have deleted some clips of her mother’s reprimanding her because she is “not looking for a husband.” In these clips, the intimate relationship with the mother is revealed, no matter how hard it is to look at the mother as an enemy.

Circumcision is a feast for a male child, entry to masculinity, and religious legitimacy. Female circumcision is announced by drum and hued, but female circumcision takes place in silence and is not called and drum is not played on his occasion. Male circumcision takes place at an early stage, while female circumcision takes place at a very conscious stage.

UNICEF estimates that 200 million women are victims of FGM, which is violence. “Violence by definition is a speech or a harmful or destructive act by an individual or group against another,” says Barbara, who passes in her book “Cultural Styles of Violence.” And the most dangerous when this violence is institutional. The goal of the violence, according to Michel Foucault, is to produce submissive bodies. Young circumcision is a prelude to submission and obedience.

Circumcision ensures that young women will desist from desire, to remain virgins. It is no coincidence that religious narratives glorify thousands of virgins, virgins preached and rejected by princes. This has Babylonian precedents, out of 282 articles in the Code of Hammurabi, 73 of which cover issues related to marriage, gender, and the restriction of women. Even the law of an eye for an eye enables the rich man to substitute his women for receiving corporal punishment in his place. (The book “The Origination of Patriarchy” by Gerda Lerner. P. 206).

To strengthen the struggle front, and in her search for new victims, the director met a young woman who performed the circumcision and was confident that this was necessary for her life. Thus the film offers another point of view. He portrays a disguised young woman who speaks fluent English and defends female genital mutilation.

The plurality of perspectives made the film a dialogue rather than a monochromatic tone. The director – the victim was shocked by the defense of other women for circumcision. Her dream of filming a revolutionary film turned into a recognition of a recognized reality. Time passes, depictions of changing seasons provide a metaphor for changing moods, and thus the film offers psychological treatment through facts that prove that someone who sees the calamities of others underestimates his calamities.

“In Search” is a film with a struggle to correct the abuse. It is a dimensional attempt to light up a realistic life that you lived in the dark. Illuminating the human spirit in front of the camera, which is very difficult. The camera appears in the movie as a witness to film conversations and tells the event that cannot be shown on the screen.

A film depicting the results of the psychological wound, a film that deals with what cannot be photographed, so dialogs dominate. What saved the film from boredom is that the director is the victim and not just an observer of what is going on with others. A documentary film, not a monologic, a dialogue, because it gave the opposing view a sufficient space, and presented it in a pleasant and not dismal way … After the clamor of dialogues and in moments of silence, the victim compares what is missing in the mirror. Compare here and there. In exile, they understand her, but here in her country, she loves her and embraces her instead of answering her questions.

The documentary depicts what is not covered in the reports of the state-sprinkled state television channel, which are alleged to bring shame to the countries in which it is reported. The director from Germany talks about her experience in her country of origin. In Morocco, this is seen as a cinematic abuse of the homeland.

There is where the courage of Western modernity puts everything on the table for discussion, but here in the south, from a moral and spiritual perspective, the body is useless, all the lesson in the chaste spirit. But modernity restored the body. According to Barbara Whitmer, the body is the natural end to the human experience.


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