The Western world prides itself (often incorrectly) on being progressive, tolerant and inclusive. However, as the recent judgement in Texas highlights, hard won women’s rights can easily be eroded and overturned if there are enough old male religious zealots around. Sadly, it came as no great surprise. Indeed, the personal freedoms and rights of many women across the world haven’t changed much since these sacred scriptures were written. As is highlighted in Lingui, The Sacred Bonds.
Amina (Achouackh Abakar Souleymane) lives in the outskirts of the Chadian capital with her 15-year-old daughter Maria (Rihane Khalil Alio), earning a meagre selling her crafts. As a single-mother, she’s often shunned by society but makes sure to show her piety, regularly attending prayers at the local mosque. Maria is expelled from school for being pregnant and wants an abortion. It’s illegal and forbidden by Islam. Not to mention expensive. However, Amina is determined to not let history repeat itself.
Lingui, The Sacred Bonds is an affecting drama which focusses on the (often unspoken) pressures placed on women, by men, in Central Africa. Even in the most patriarchal of societies women often find ways to circumvent prejudicial laws and norms. Using the sororal bonds which exist everywhere. Souleymane delivers a brilliant performance, and while Mahamat-Saleh Haroun’s film is immaculate social issues filmmaking it’s also beautifully shot. Lingui, The Sacred Bonds is a triumph of determination and bravery.
Lingui, The Sacred Bonds screens at Toronto International Film Festival.