It is pretty disheartening to reduce movies to star ratings and titular comparisons. Between good and bad, many movies get lost in the ranking system, for they are neither good nor bad. They are simply "pieces of art" which represent a culture so far away from the regular viewer, yet they connect to them on so many levels.
Mosonngoa - The mocked one is a 26 minute-long, Masotho film (which the singular adjective for the country of Lesotho), written and directed by Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese, a Masotho director and cinematographer. Instead of using the easy way out and presenting a movie that merely focuses on the beauty of the African content or challenges major themes like racism, nationality or civil war, Mosese chose the difficult and beautiful tale of a young woman fighting to make a place for herself in a society that doesn't even accept her existence.
Mosonngoa, our heroine, is a young girl from Lesotho. She is poor, young and vulnerable, that which makes her the perfect victim in the eyes of the men of her society. When her father faces a drastic situation which requires him to pay a lot of money to a greedy landlord, Mosonngoa decides to intervene in the most complex of methods.
Mosonngoa in the Sesotho language means the mocked one. She is already born with a mark on her forehead that brands her to be a shame to her own father, who wasn't lucky enough to have sons of his own. Through this very subtle revelation which we don't even learn until midway through the movie, we have already recognized the severity of Mosonngoa's suffering. The young actress, Siphiwe Nzima-Ntskhe, portrays the struggle brilliantly with her body and facial expressions.
Mosonngoa - The mocked one one displays brilliant cinematography and makes good use of the beautiful African scenery. The use of the camera, though shaky at times, but it perfectly transitioned the glorious feeling of fighting; whether it was Mosonngoa's interior struggles or the stick-fighting competition that is taking place out in the open.
Mosonngoa - The mocked one is a feminist movie that takes a casual story of a young woman's fight for existence and turns it into an epic. With its emphasis on the gravity of a choice and its consequences, Mosonngoa - The mocked one truly captures the essence of the deep-rooted fight for women's right for existence. All it takes is a young woman and a stick.
written by Jaylan Salah
This paper is part of the Workshop on Film Criticism, commissioned by the 4th Luxor African Film Festival, 16-22 March 2015, mentored by Thierno I. Dia, Africiné.