Madame Brouette

Women in vibrant yellow fabrics line a street of blue-painted walls and sing as a drunken man in a red skirt and even redder wig dies on the ground: from the colorful opening of this Senegalese feminist social musical, it is certainly no surprise to learn that director Moussa Sene Absa makes his living as a painter as well as filmmaker. In a shantytown, the tough-minded Mati lives under no man's thumb, rolling her wheelbarrow of goods while helping the village women dodge the slurs and fists of no-good men. When a smooth-talking, fast-dancing police officer aims his charms and hips towards her, however, life begins to get more complicated, especially when his gangster friends, and some rival women, appear. “Happiness and suffering are brother and sister,” says one character; indeed, Madame Brouette presents both, side by side, its tale of low-rent chauvinists and amateur oppressors well tempered by a soaring musical score and a screen that bursts with colors, so brightly painted as to hope to outshine the sorrows.

This page may by only partially complete. For additional information about this film, view the original entry on our archived site.