Chez Jolie Coiffure 2019

Rosine Mbakam / Cameroon / 70 mins / French / Rating 12

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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 rumours 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 Two Faces of a Bamileke Woman, stands outside the salon, filming. Sabine calls her in, and 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 skilful 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. 



Rosine Mbakam grew up in Cameroon, and her passion for cinema started early in life. She trained in Yaoundé with the Centro Orientamento Educativo (COE) where she learned cinematography, editing and production. She collaborated and directed several films with COE before joining STV (Spectrum Television) in 2003.

In 2007, she left Cameroon to study at the Institut Supérieur des Arts (INSAS) in Brussels, Belgium. She directed and co-directed several short films, including You Will Be My Ally and a portrait of the Congolese artist Freddy Tsimba "Mavambu." In 2014, she and Geoffroy Cernaix founded Tândor Productions, which produced her first feature film, The Two Faces of a Bamileke Woman (2016), which won prizes including the prestigious Discovery Award from the Society of Media Authors and Creators (SCAM). Her second feature film, Chez Jolie Coiffure (2019) is highly acclaimed. Like Chez Jolie Coiffure, her third feature, Delphine's Prayers (2021), is also a 'chamber piece', shot in a single room, following the story of Delphine, who left the oppression of a patriarchal society in Cameroon looking for a new life in Europe — only to find herself enmeshed in sexual exploitation of a different kind.

Past Showings

Friday 15th October 2021 / 7:30pm for 17 days / Online

Included In

Chez Jolie Coiffure is screening as part of:

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Director Masterclass

Join us for a director masterclass with Rosine Mbakam in partnership with Scottish Documentary Institute (SDI) on Wednesday 27th October at 14:00.

To join in the conversation on Zoom, please register here. 

*This masterclass will be recorded and uploaded to our Vimeo shortly after the event.