Freedom doesn’t come easy in “Lingui, the Sacred Bonds,” an electrifying story about a mother and daughter. It is fought for – and fought for – by women who save themselves, each other. For her daughter, autonomy means guaranteeing abortion in a country that forbids it. For the mother, an observant Muslim, self-control is a revolutionary act, one that requires a change in her thinking and herself. It means saying no, dancing, smoking stealthily, and fighting when necessary. It means finding new ways to be a woman in this man’s world.
The story opens in present-day N’Djamena, Chad, where Amina (Achouackh Abakar Souleymane) spends most of her time traveling through. Along with her 15-year-old daughter, Maria (Rihane Khalil Alio), Amina lives in a modest home with a rickety gate, thick walls, and a sweet, playful dog and a charming kitten. For the money, Amina creates cleverly designed mini charcoal stoves using wire she painstakingly salvages from old car and truck tires she buys. Once she made enough money, she covered her head and body, carefully balanced the stoves over her head, and roamed the city selling them for the equivalent of a few dollars.
The family quiet is broken as the story unfolds, though you’re in the dark about what happened as Amina. Screenwriter-Director Mahamat-Saleh HarounHowever, he’s a nimble worker – the film runs just 90 minutes – and he quickly outlines the story and grim hardships for both mother and daughter. Maria was expelled from school because she was pregnant. (“It is bad for our image,” a school official explained coldly.) Maria will not name the father. And she doesn’t want to have children, partly because she doesn’t want to end up like Amina, who has suffered as a single mother.
Like in the American indie film”Never Rarely Sometimes Always, ”The struggle for safe abortion here is difficult, life-changing and profound. Naturally, the attempt to protect one quickly takes the form of an adventure, a journey rife with misdeeds, difficult threats, and gendered obstacles. For Amina, these obstacles include the government’s abortion ban, empty bags, finger waving and head shaking. There is a victorious imam (Saleh Sambo) who questions her faith; and has a cranky neighbor (Youssouf Djaoro) who is happy to flirt with her but won’t lend her money.
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/03/movies/lingui-the-sacred-bonds-review.html Review ‘Lingui, the Sacred Bonds’: Love, Fierce, and Infinite