Was breezing through the recently announced list of 383 titles (from 70 countries) scheduled to screen at the 2011 Montreal World Film Festival, and came across this one. It’s called Massage, Cameroon Style.
But don’t let the title fool you; it’s much more harrowing than comforting.
In short, in parts of Cameroon, some girls are forced to undergo what is called “breast massages;” essentially, fearing that their daughters may become victims of sexual abuse, some mothers remove their daughters’ mammary glands (mutilating their bodies with a hot stone used to “massage” their breasts) hoping that doing so would help them escape the gaze of men.
The act is also said to be done to “erase the first signs of puberty to avoid forced marriages… and unwanted pregnancies,” with the paradox being that the “massaging” is done by women to other women.
I can understand a mother’s fear (even though I’m certainly not one; neither am I a father) for her child, but this is a little extreme, isn’t it? This is done in order to *protect* their daughters, but it’s more like punishing them for being women than protecting them, right? What’s the alternative?
The film is directed by Josza Anjembe, a Cameroonian herself, who lives and works in France.
Watch the NSFW preview below: