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30% Women and Politics in Sierra Leone | dir. Anna Cady (UK, Sierra Leone)

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Before the title bleeds into the film’s opening shots, the sound of traffic bubbles up and I expect the familiar filler-shots of bustling urban Africa to follow. Instead a languid oil-painted animation comes into view, and establishes the film’s contemplative rhythm. There’s something lovely about the pace of 30%, which presents the narratives of three Sierra Leonean women — including Bernadette Lahai — in politics. It doesn’t really feel like director Anna Cady has a point to drive home, rather that the film is a vehicle for Lahai and her peers to talk frankly about their experiences as women politicians. Unfortunately, 30% lacks contemporary political context instead encouraging the viewer to understand events with reference to the civil war which although decade-long (1991 – 2002), also ended ten years ago. That said, the film is keen to highlight that while Sierra Leone’s women were prominent in the peace process they have since been excluded from politics-as-usual and explores why this might be. The film was developed through funding from Pathways for Women’s Empowerment and Screen South and you can watch it on The Guardian website in its entirety.

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