The 2009 Peabody Awards Collection Black History Month screening series begins Tuesday, February 3 with “Sisters-in-Law.” This festival favorite from Vixen Films has won over 20 awards, including a 2007 Peabody Award.
The film will be shown at 7 p.m. in Room 348 of the Miller Learning Center. Free and open to the public. Discussion to follow.
“Independent Lens: Sisters in Law”
Sisters-in-Law, from internationally acclaimed director Kim Longinotto (Divorce Iranian style; The day I will never forget) and co-director Florence Ayisi, is a fascinating, moving and often hilarious look at the work of one small courthouse in Cameroon where two women determined to change a village are making progress that could change the world.
There have been no convictions in spousal abuse cases for 17 years in the little town of Kumba, Cameroon, but the tough-minded state prosecutor Vera Ngassa and Court President Beatrice Ntuba are working to help women in their Muslim village find the courage to fight often-difficult cases of abuse, despite pressures from their family and their community to remain silent. We meet six-year-old Manka, who is covered in scars and has run away from an abusive aunt; Amina, who is seeking a divorce to put an end to brutal beatings by her husband; and the pre-teen Sonita, who has daringly accused her neighbor of rape.
With fierce compassion, Ngassa and Ntuba dispense wisdom, wisecracks and justice in fair measure, handing down stiff sentences to those convicted. Described as a cross between Judge Judy and The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series, Sisters-in-Law has had festival audiences cheering when justice is served. Inspiring and uplifting, Sisters-in-Law presents a strong and positive view of African women and captures the emerging spirit of courage, and the very real possibility of change.
Winner of more than twenty awards, Sisters-in-Law was broadcast on the Emmy Award-Winning PBS Series Independent Lens, and screened to acclaim at more than 150 film festivals around the world. Some of its many awards include both the Prix Art et Essai and the Special Mention Europa Cinemas from the Cannes Film Festival, the Audience Award from the International Documentary Film Festival, Amsterdam (IDFA), and the Adrienne Shelly Award from the Women’s Film Critics Circle.