search articles: 

   from the issue of March 31, 2005

Upcoming shows at Ross include Moolaadé, Assassination of Richard Nixon

African cinema's founding father, 81-year-old Ousmane Sembene, continues to be its most fiery, provocative spirit as demonstrated by his most recent film, Moolaadé, opening at the Mary Riepma Ross Media Arts Center on April 1.

Extending the strong feminist consciousness that marked his previous triumph Faat Kiné (as well as such earlier classics as Black Girl and Ceddo), Moolaadé is a rousing polemic directed against the still common African practice of female circumcision.

The action is set in a small African village, where four young girls facing ritual "purification" flee to the household of Collé Ardo Gallo Sy, a strong-willed woman who has managed to shield her own teenage daughter from mutilation.

Collé invokes the time-honored custom of moolaadé (sanctuary) to protect the fugitives, and tension mounts as the ensuing stand-off pits Collé against village traditionalists (both male and female) and endangers the prospective marriage of her daughter to the heir-apparent to the tribal throne.

Though the subject matter might seem weighty, this buoyant film is anything but as Sembene places the action amid a colorful, vibrant tapestry of village life and expands the narrative well beyond the bounds of straightforward, socially conscious realism employing an imaginative array of emblematic metaphors, mythic overtones, and musical numbers.

Winner of the Grand Prize in the Un Certain Regard section of the 2004 Cannes Film Festival, Moolaadé was selected by many prominent critics as the best film of the entire festival.

Moolaadé is not rated.

Sean Penn gives yet another remarkable performance as troubled soul Sam Bicke in Niels Mueller's debut feature film, The Assassination of Richard Nixon, opening at the Mary Riepma Ross Media Arts Center on April 1.

As the Watergate scandal is breaking and President Nixon can be seen all over the television and newspapers, Bicke struggles to earn money as an office furniture salesman as he tries to win back his estranged wife, Marie (a brunette Naomi Watts).

He has grand plans of starting a mobile tire store with his friend Bonny (Don Cheadle), but he is so blinded by truth and honesty that he stands in the way of his own potential success.

His rage continues to build as he sees another man spending time with Marie and the kids until he cannot control it any longer and resolves to kill Nixon, whom he blames for all of society's ills.

Mueller, who co-wrote the script with Kevin Kennedy, tells the story in a series of flashbacks as Bicke dictates into a tape recorder the sad details of his life to composer Leonard Bernstein, the only person he thinks will understand him. Penn immerses himself in this difficult, challenging role, playing a simple man on the verge of exploding.

From the way he covets his mustache to how he reacts when he's around Marie, Penn embodies Bicke, who sees himself as representative of the loss of the American dream. Based on true events, the film also deals with the racism and sexism that was rampant in the early-to-mid-1970s.

The Assassination of Richard Nixon is rated R, by the Motion Picture Association of America, for language and a scene of graphic violence.

Moolaadé and The Assassination of Richard Nixon are showing at the Mary Riepma Ross Media Arts Center on April 1 through April 14.

Show times are available at, by consulting your newspaper, or by calling the MRRMAC film information line at 472-5353.



Ross presents Full Frame Documentary Film Festival
Free Sneak Preview of "Willa Cather: The Road is All" April 9 at Minden Opera House
Goodman to appear at Ross
Nebraska, Creighton baseball to play on NET
Sheldon hosts free family day
UNL print sale April 14-16
Upcoming shows at Ross include Moolaadé, Assassination of Richard Nixon