Revealed in 2005 by a very good short documentary, My Beautiful Smile about her gum tattoo, Angèle Diabang-Brener pursues her same approach in listening to Senegalese women in their relationship with Islam. A background in editing, it is definitively how she gives her films the energy they convey. A rhythm takes hold in sync with the topic, which respects expression and sharpens perception at the same time. Moving among five Muslim women whose experience of Islam is very different, from respectful detachment to systematic headscarf, Senegalese and Islam does not only provide a range of stories or a medley of opinions. Despite the extreme positions of some of them concerning Shariah, on the whole, what comes over is a tolerance drawn from the understanding of the religion itself, avoiding the dogmatism widely relayed by the media; in other words the usual commonplaces when talking about Islam in Senegal. But a counterpoint slowly emerges, the one of a society where religion is gradually taking over public life, where radicalization is spreading, stiffening social control, where external signs increasingly matter to the point of being understood as a duty. It is of course in these fulfilled women’s paradoxical promotion of a hegemony over their lives and a restriction of freedom of speech and movement that this film is disturbing. Angèle does not ring the alarm, she just puts her camera at the right distance to let the women speak as much as possible and, through the editing, establishes an observation in the form of a question mark. By doing this, without any warning, she highlights the sadness of a vision expressed by one of the five women she meets of a life where « one’s contented with what one has. » She highlights it even more as the vision of a woman who freely chose the headscarf comes before the one of another woman who simply says: « Through my religion, I feel like a heavenly creature ». A fine agenda of self-affirmation.
Translated by Sutarni Riesenmey///Article N° : 6885