The movie of Faat Kine explores different struggles within African womanhood and the importance of patriarchal in African tradition. From parents and child relationship to education and love life, a figure of a woman is strongly highlighted throughout the film. As it is my first time enjoying an African cinema, I would say I am really impressed by how the story line goes. Frankly speaking, Kine’s problems are our problems everyday. However, the genius director Ousmane Sembene creates those moments in such brilliant unexpected plots.
Kine was born in a middle class family. She was about to obtain her Baccalaureate, a French national secondary school diploma, when she found out that she was pregnant and got expelled from school. From that moment on, her relationship with her father worsened with his refusal to forgive Kine for her pregnancy. Long story short, Kine became a successful manager of a local gas station and she was even able to afford her two children’s, Aby and Djib, education. It has never been an easy journey for Kine, but she managed to go through it all by herself, without a husband.
Independent might be one word that best suits Kine’s personality. Having been betrayed by the men who also happened to be her children’s fathers, Kine seemed to rebuild a new foundation of her life philosophy. She has embraced a modernized principle for being a self-reliance woman without support from any men in every aspect of her life, be it raising her children or becoming economically independent. On top of that, Kine was also upset when her friend got married through an arranged marriage. This tradition should no longer be acceptable in a modern and growing Africa. A woman has her say as to what she wants or is willing to do. Sembene might not explicitly show that Kine was longing for a man’s figure who can be both a loyal husband and a respected father, but the plot was altogether leading to a happy ending.
Aside from womanhood issues, Faat Kine also features another significant facet of African culture, which is patriarchal. No matter how high one’s education is, he or she is still expected to pay respect to the elderly. From the scene of Kine bowing down asking forgiveness from her father due to her pregnancy to the moment when Djib was asked to calm down when his long lost father insisted on him giving a warm welcome, Sembene clearly points out that African culture upholds seniority.
Before watching this film, I thought it was like other old traditional movies portraying how women struggled over their family matters. However, Kine’s problems and the journey that she went through makes me deeply understand that Africa is working towards a more modernized society. Along with preserving the respect towards its original culture, Africa is now embarking a more dynamic ride in a highly globalized society.