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Sisters In Law

Pleasant doc captures progressivism in a Cameroon court
By PETER KEOUGH  |  May 3, 2006
3.0 3.0 Stars
Sisters In Law
Genocide, famine, injustice — that’s what we’ve come to expect from documentaries about Africa. Not so with this skilled, moving, and funny look at two woman judges pushing a progressive agenda in a Cameroon courthouse. Those annoyed by red tape and stirred by Judge Judy will appreciate Vera Ngassa and Beatrice Ntuba, who shoot down the patriarchal and other nonsense of those brought before them with common sense and good humor. The cases, presented in an intimate cinéma-vérité, include one little girl beaten by an aunt, another molested by a neighbor, and a battered wife bringing charges against her abusive husband. This last proved the first successful prosecution of a domestic-violence case in Cameroon in 17 years. Nonetheless, I suspect that these crusaders still have a lot of work cut out for them. But after director Kim Longinotto’s bleaker films on women’s rights, The Day I Will Never Forget and Divorce Iranian Style, I can’t begrudge her a little optimism.
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