The Two Faces of a Bamiléké Woman
Director(s): Rosine Mbakam
Fest Year: 2021
Series: True Vision Repertory
Runtime: 76 min
Rarely has a filmmaker burst onto the international scene with a debut feature as assured and self-aware as this. Seven years after leaving her native Cameroon to study film in Belgium, Mbakam returns, accompanied by her young son. Meeting up with her mother in Tonga, her birth village, she is surrounded by the women who raised her, immersed in their daily tasks and inundated with stories of their lives—from arranged marriages gone awry to bitter conflict with the French colonizers. Impressively, Mbakam neither looks down on nor idealizes the women we meet. Instead, her level gaze helps us imagine a new model of collaborative nonfiction, a reordering of the power dynamic between filmmaker and subject. Mbakam’s eye for detail never blinks—even as she questions her own role in the community and the advantages (and disadvantages) of her new home in Europe.