An award winning work from acclaimed documentary filmmaker Kim Longinotto and co-director Florence Ayisi, Sisters in Law is an uplifting and enlightening slice of life, focusing on justice in the Muslim village of Kumba Town, Cameroon. The town is overseen by the progressive female partnership of prosecutor Vera Ngassa and court president Beatrice Ntuba, who together help women to speak out and fight back against assumptions of patriarchal privilege in modern-day Africa. In signature style, Longinotto's unobtrusive camera captures an abundance of colourful characters, allowing their powerful stories to unfold effortlessly, without the need for narration, The cases include Sonita, a young girl who accuses a neighbour off rape; Manka a six-year old who has been beaten with a coat-hanger; and Amina, a wife seeking divorce from her abusive husband. All three are given the sort of support that extends beyond legal advice and becomes a crucial act of employment. A warm, witty and involving portrait of two remarkable characters and an example of grassroots action at its most effective, Sisters in Law is that rare thing - a film that makes you believe things might actually get better rather than worse.
Great in fascination factor
- Sisters in Law review by BN
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You rated this film: 4
Initially as no reviews were available, I rather naively thought from the cover picture and title that this would be an interesting drama about sisters in British law, having just watched a couple of UK legal dramas so was surprised to find that this was not only a documentary film but took place in the West African country of Cameroon.
I was under the impression Cameroon was French speaking but in this apparently Muslim dominant state they seem to use English and pidgeon English. Definitely needed the subtitles!
The sisters are a hard-hitting judge-prosecuter and a lawyer doing their best against entrenched ideas of male superiority and features several real cases mostly relating to children and women woefully abused by both males and females. Gripping stuff.
Surprises me that the sisters as a formidable force don't get a lot of retaliation as they tend to state very feminist views (good for them!) but the like of which would be bound to piss the local men off - and is Cameroonian law so advanced that it affords inherent governmental legal protection for defenceless women against centuries of Islamic codes of conduct and the still commonly held views that women are simply chattels and objects for sexual gratification, both in or OUT of marriage?
What is not explained is either of the sisters' backgrounds - where were they were trained, or their reasons for why have they taken on the local establishment ? An interesting eye-opener nevertheless.