52 minutes, 1994, Togo Director: Anne-Laure Folly in French with English subtitles
ABOUT THE FILM
"A respectable women should learn from her husband, She shouldn't read, She shouldn't have her eyes open." A poem by a Burkinabe woman
A film about African women is a rarity, even more, one made by an African woman. In Femmes Aux Yeux Ouverts, award-winning Togolese filmmaker, Anne-Laure Folly presents portraits of contemporary African women from four West African nations: Burkina Faso, Mali, Senegal and Benin. The film shows how African women are speaking out and organizing around five key issues: marital rights, reproductive health, female genital mutilation, women's role in the economy and political rights.
Femmes Aux Yeux Ouverts introduces us to many unforgettable African women. we meet a woman who has taken refuge in a convent from a forced marriage. We join a community health worker demonstrating condom use in a marketplace. An activist describes why it is more effective to attack female "circumcision" as a health issue rather than as a women's rights issue. Women entrepreneurs, who control trade in major cities explain how they have formed their own mutual aid societies. A Malian woman, who lost her daughter in the 1991 pro-democracy demonstrations, describes how women continue to play a key role in the Malian revolution.
Femmes Aux Yeux Ouverts shows how women are organizing at the grassroots level to insure their participation in the continent's current move towards democracy. It has screened to enthusiastic women's audiences across West Africa, reinforcing their demands for a place at the center of the development process.
"It takes courage to see the true condition of women in the world and to speak out about it. Courage and a strong stomach. The women in this film possess the necessary radical vision that neither romanticizes nor renders remote the obvious consequences of female enslavement."
"A wonderful film seen through the eyes of women determined to make a change in their lives. It will make you cry and laugh but most importantly, bring you closer to African women."
Else Mia Adjali, United Methodist Office for the U.N.
"Powerful and thoughtful . . . absorbing and non-voyeuristic, distinguished by the candor of its interviews."