SISTERS IN LAW is an uplifting and enlightening slice of life, focusing on justice in the Muslim village of Kumba Town, Cameroon, overseen by the progressive female legal partnership of tough-minded prosecutor Vera Ngassa and court president Beatrice Ntuba, who together help women to speak out and fight back against assumptions of patriarchal privilege in modern-day Africa.
Longinotto and Ayisi take us through cases that demonstrate with immediacy how Ngassa and Ntuba dispense justice in ways that will affect positive change not only in their community but also potentially throughout the country at large. A young girl who has been raped, a 6-year-old who has violently beaten with a coat-hanger and a wife seeking divorce from her abusive husband are all given the sort of support – both legally and emotionally – that extends beyond legal advice and becomes a crucial act of empowerment. With fierce compassion, they dispense wisdom, wisecracks and justice in fair measure, handing down stiff sentences to those convicted.
In signature style, Longinotto’s unobtrusive camera captures an abundance of colourful characters, allowing their powerful stories to unfold effortlessly without need for narration.
Offering a strong, positive view of African women, SISTERS IN LAW is a warm, witty and involving portrait of two remarkable characters and an example of grassroots action at its most effective, SISTERS IN LAW is that rare thing – a film that makes you believe things might actually get better rather than worse.
Kim Longinotto’s award-winning films include the 2005 Emmy-nominated film THE DAY I WILL NEVER FORGET, which premiered in the U.S. at the 2003 Sundance Film Festival, DIVORCE IRANIAN STYLE, DREAM GIRLS and SHINJUKU BOYS, among others.
Directors’ Fortnight, Cannes Film Festival 2005
Prix Art et Essai – CICAE (La Confederation Internationale des Cinemas Art & Essais)
Special Mention, Europa Cinemas, Directors’ Fortnight, Cannes Film Festival 2005
Grierson Award for Best Documentary on a Contemporary Issue, UK
Official Selection, Toronto International Film Festival, 2005
Audience Award, International Documentary Festival Amsterdam
Nominated for ‘Best Documentary 2005’, British Independent Film Awards