Madame Brouette (2002, Moussa Sene Absa)

Strong feminist single-mom “Mme Brouette” Mati (Price of Forgiveness star Rokhaya Niang) is trying to get by with her wheelbarrow business, inspiring her friend Ndaxte to leave her own abusive husband. Mati meets friendly and attentive young policeman Naago and falls for him. Unfortunately he’s actually a drunkard whose hobbies include chasing every woman in sight, shaking down local businesses for protection money, and hanging out with his trashy loanshark buddy. Now Mati is trapped and pregnant, turning to crime (smuggling) to open her own cafe, which I think Naago burns down at the end – he surely burns down something, to repay his shitty friend. Mati doesn’t initially have the nerve to just shoot the guy, but her daughter does.

Mati/Brouette is arrested for murder, the end, Kinda a depressing movie, flashing between the climactic murder scene and backstory, enlivened by musical numbers – what Time Out calls an “Afro-Brechtian griot chorus.”

Played the Berlin Fest in competition with 25th Hour, Hero, Soderbergh’s Solaris, Alexandra’s Project, Twilight Samurai and winner In This World.