Delphine's Prayers 2021

Rosine Mbakam / Cameroon / 91 mins / French, English / Rating 15

Sorry, this online screening is not available in your country.


Content Warning: This film contains scenes that reference abuse and assault that some may find distressing.

Delphine, who is only identified by her first name, is quick-witted, engaging, passionate, and intense. Born and raised in Cameroon, at 30, she has survived a series of personal catastrophes. Her mother died in childbirth, and her father did little to care for his children. Now, she lives with a Belgian husband three times her age and their children, estranged from much of her family. Unable to find a job, Delphine styles hair at home and still turns to sex work from time to time to have some independence and money of her own.

In Delphine's Prayers, she frankly shares her experiences with director Rosine Mbakam over several interview sessions, deftly switching between languages. The sessions are intimate—sometimes painful, sometimes funny—carried by Delphine’s exuberant storytelling style and her clear bond of trust with Mbakam, whom she has known for years. In Cameroon, Delphine and Mbakam came from different cultures and classes. But they both arrived in Belgium within months of each other, neither with friends. Like so many of her generation, Delphine left the oppression of a patriarchal society looking for a new life in Europe—only to find herself enmeshed in sexual exploitation of a different kind.

About the Director

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

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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.