Mambar Pierrette

Directed by Rosine Mbakam

93 minutes / Color
French; Bamileke; Cameroon Pidgin / English subtitles
Release: 2023
Copyright: 2023

film poster

Over the past decade, Cameroonian filmmaker Rosine Mbakam (Chez Jolie Coiffure, Delphine’s Prayers) has distinguished herself for her quietly observational documentary portraits of African women. With Mambar Pierrette, her feature narrative debut, Mbakam turns her documentarian’s eye to the eponymous Pierrette, a gifted seamstress who works to support her young children and mother.

The city of Douala, Cameroon is getting ready for the start of the school year. A long line of customers come to Pierrette to prepare their clothes for upcoming social events and ceremonies. More than a seamstress, she is the confidant of her customers and community. But when it starts pouring and the rain threatens to flood her workshop - one of many misfortunes - Pierrette will have to struggle to stay afloat. Marked by moments of beauty and quiet grace, Mbakam’s naturalistic approach favors a portrait of resilience in the face of adversity and socioeconomic hardship.

“An original filmmaker of exquisite sensibility; one of the foremost filmmakers of creative nonfiction working right now.”  Richard Brody, The New Yorker

“Critic’s Pick! Hits a remarkable balance.” —The New York Times

“As in Mbakam’s bravura nonfiction, the simplicity and directness of Mambar Pierrette belie a penetrating emotional and political vision.” —Devika Girish, Film Comment

“Packs a powerful punch!” —Cineaste

“A smartly spun tapestry of everyday life.” —Screen Daily

“Attuned to the rhythms of laboring women.” —Screen Slate

“One of the most refreshing revelations from the latest New York Film Festival… Eye-opening... magisterial.” —Cinergie

“Poignant. Mambar Pierrette is likely to resonate with audiences who are interested in stories of resilience and the human spirit. It offers a unique perspective on the lives of African women - one that is often overlooked in mainstream cinema.” —AKOROKO

“A striking and exceedingly realistic portrait of a woman, recreating her heroine’s daily life with sharpness and meaning, relying on her time at work, and on the entrée the sewing workshop’s open door provides to Pierrette’s world.” —Cinevox

“With extreme simplicity, and using the utmost discretion in her direction, Rosine Mbakam disappears behind the outlines of her character, who is crafted with fine strokes in a register that combines description with sharp social critique.” —Le Monde

“Both extremely personal and steeped in the bitterness of the real world.” —Télérama

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A film by Rosine Mbakam

Select Accolades

  • World Premiere, Cannes Film Festival 2023
  • North American Premiere, Toronto International Film Festival 2023
  • U.S. Premiere, New York Film Festival 2023
  • Official Selection, New African Film Festival 2024
  • Official Selection, The Chicago European Union Film Festival 2024


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