RSS file with home page updates in XML RSS Info divider Bookmark and Share divider email Join our email list! divider cartCart
Icarus Film
Films from independent
producers worldwide.
32 Court Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201divider(718) 488 8900
Chez Jolie Coiffure

A film by Rosine Mbakam

 Text Size  Increase Font Size   Decrease Font Size   divider Printable VersionPrintable Version

film still

Sabine’s hands move quickly and precisely as she tightly braids hair in her tiny salon. The sign outside offers African, European, or American hairstyles. Sabine is a charismatic, larger than-life personality crammed into a tiny shop in the immigrant Brussels district of Matonge. Here, she and her employees style extensions and glue on lashes while watching soaps, dishing romantic advice, sharing rumors about government programs to legalize migrants, and talking about life back home in West Africa.

At the start of Chez Jolie Coiffure, director Rosine Mbakam, who made waves with her impressive debut film, the Icarus Films release The Two Faces of a Bamileke Woman, stands outside the salon, filming. Sabine calls her in, warning her it’s unsafe out in hallway of the cramped urban mall. Mbakam sets up in the shop—and stays, filming over the course of a year, becoming a regular fixture and presence. This cinematic “chamber piece,” which takes place entirely inside a salon not much larger than a take-out stand, makes skillful use of its many mirrors.

More than a place for women to get their hair done, Jolie Coiffure serves as a community hub for West African women—many from Cameroon, like Sabine. Fueled by endless cans of soda and cups of McDonald’s coffee, she recruits for a tontine—an investment scheme paying each member a yearly annuity, organizes accommodation for a pregnant woman who lacks immigration papers, and, in quieter, more introspective moments, tells her own harrowing journey to Belgium after working as a domestic under terrible conditions in Lebanon.

Though she has created a home in her own space, Sabine remains an outsider in Belgium. Students and tourist groups made up only of white people walk past, pausing at the window and gawking. (At one point, Sabine urges Mbakam to turn her camera on them so they’ll go away; the director obliges.) When word has it that the immigration police are coming through, she hurriedly turns off all the lights and quickly vanishes out the door.

Chez Jolie Coiffure is a highly revealing documentary, capturing the day-to-day lives and concerns of immigrant West African women in a space they can call their own.

"Critic's Pick! Rosine Mbakam makes a remarkable debut; demonstrates a mastery of perspective, a rare ability to include the camera in community." —The New York Times

"Intense vulnerability makes the film emotionally gripping; the contrast between a public storefront and intimate confessions makes it engrossing... Unequivocally extracts a powerful sense of empathy—and urgency."Vox Magazine

"An elegant portrayal; [in Sabine's salon,] the surrounding community is nurtured in generous and careful ways."H-Black Europe Journal

"Meet the filmmaker reinventing how African women are portrayed in movies. [In Chez Jolie Coiffure, director Rosine Mbakam] captures the way in which this salon provides a safe space of community and support for African migrant women, while also revealing the struggles their community faces." —National Public Radio (NPR)

"Immersive, provacative; a warm, appealing portrait. Mbakam’s portrait is knit as tightly as the braids Sabine weaves." —Film International

"An original filmmaker of exquisite sensibility; one of the foremost filmmakers of creative nonfiction working right now." —The New Yorker

Spirit of the Festival Prize, Light Film Festival 2019
True/False Film Festival 2019
AFI Docs Film Festival 2019
New York African Film Festival 2019
FESPACO Film Festival 2019
Unorthodox Film Festival 2019
DOK Leipzig Film Festival 2018

70 minutes / Color
French / English subtitles
Release: 2019
Copyright: 2018

For colleges, universities, government agencies, hospitals and corporations

This DVD is sold with a license for institutional use and Public Performance rights.

Subject areas:
Africa, Racism, Western Europe, Human Rights, Women's Studies

Watch the trailer:

Related Titles:
Home | New | Titles | Subjects | PDFs | Ordering | Resources | Latest News | Site Map   
About | Closed Captioned | Best Sellers | Study Guides | Filmmakers | RSS | Screenings   
address
  Follow Us! On...
Facebook Follow Icarus Films on Twitter YouTube
Copyright (c) 2019, Icarus Films
Last Updated September 3, 2019 [Build 3.0.a043-c]
Privacy Policy