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May 4, 2006

The Woman Alone, 2004

woman_alone.gifDuring the Q&A for The Woman Alone, Brahim Fritah explained that his original shooting strategy of concealing the subject, Akosse Legba's face by filming only fragments of her body along with the empty rooms of her (former) employer/owner's luxury apartment and images from her impoverished village in Togo, was designed after Legba had requested anonymity for her (perceived) shame and humiliation from her ordeal (a strategy similarly implemented by Tsai Ming-liang in the documentary, My New Friends). The strategy turns out not only to be artful, but also a particularly inspired one, as Legba's horrific first-hand testimony of subhuman treatment is reflected in the fractured shots, disembodied voice, and impressionistic photographs that acutely - and poignantly - articulate her captivity and systematic dehumanization at the hands of seemingly well-intentioned benefactors. A victim of modern slavery in France, Legba was brought into the country on a false passport by a French Togolese couple offering a chance for a better life abroad, only to be forced into a life of unpaid servitude. Denied any kind of autonomy even within the household, Legba was repeatedly abused by the couple until a near fatal beating finally compels neighbors to summon the police for help and inevitably sets her on the path to freedom. Concluding with the close-up shot of a photographic section that gradually pulls back to reveal the entire photograph of Legba, with her integrated movement finally captured through the continuity of her image on recorded video, the sequence becomes an indelible, metaphoric reconstitution of Legba's fractured and lost identity - a restoration of wholeness - in the face of dehumanization, exploitation, and inhumanity.

Posted by acquarello on May 04, 2006 | | Filed under 2006, New York African Film Festival


Can you tell me where I can get a copy of "La Femme Seule?" Thank you!

Posted by: Michela on Aug 11, 2006 7:50 AM | Permalink

Sorry, I have no idea where to get a copy of the film. All the entries in the Film Fest Journal are film festival screenings (this one is the New York African Film Festival), so I don't know about home video distribution.

Posted by: acquarello on Aug 11, 2006 7:52 AM | Permalink

FYI, it looks as though a DVD of A Woman Alone has been released in France, which also includes another Fritah short film, The Train. The film is PAL Region 2, so it will not play on standard US NTSC DVD players.

Posted by: acquarello on Oct 24, 2007 12:58 PM | Permalink

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