Cambodia International Film Festival

The Light Of Women

The Light Of Women poster

The Light Of Women

by Elise Darblay, Antoine Depeyre

France/2023/76 min


In the Peul Kingdom of Fouta-Toro, on the border between Senegal and Mauritania, isolated villages subsist without electricity and totally off-grid. Néné, in her fifties, lives in one of these remote villages. At the market, she hears about an NGO that trains women to use solar power. Unfortunately, the NGO has no plans to visit her village. No problem: Néné will go to them.

Until Néné, no woman had ever left this village. None of them has attended school, and not one of them has received any education other than in the skills necessary for village life: Pounding millet, feeding and tending cattle, caring for children, and preparing meals. This is daily life for all the women of the village. Like the discreet and shy Hawa (34). Sterile, her husband took a second, and younger wife. Or 15-year-old Aïssata, forcibly married at age 12, she knows nothing outside of her native village.

When the day finally comes to get on the bus and head to the training center, the women, leaving their village for the first time in their life, sense that everything is about to change. Far from the gaze of their men: Husbands, fathers, and brothers, these women will have access to the unknown. Running water, electricity and… knowledge. A transformative, once in a lifetime, empowering experience, one that should bring hope to the village for a bright new future… If only the men can accept it.