2 Best Movies to Watch From Cameroon

Staff & contributors
If given the outline of this film, it might be easy to just call it poverty porn. But there’s a genuineness to Mambar Pierrette that keeps this film from sliding into melodrama, a certain subtlety that captures the everyday life in Douala, Cameroon. Filmmaker Rosine Mbakam, who made her start through documentary films, brings her naturalistic style here, placing the titular seamstress front and center as she responds to each and every difficulty that comes her way. And as the flood comes, and so too her troubles, Pierrette Aboheu Njeuthat shines with a subtle charisma, a performance full of dignity for the titular single mother that carved out a life through her craft. Mambar Pierrette might have a familiar neo-realist story, but it’s done well due to its excellent balance.

Genre: Drama

Actor: Cécile Tchana, Fabrice Ndjeuthat, Karelle Kenmogne, Pierrette Aboheu

Director: Rosine Mbakam

, 2023

Despite its ambition to be a more serious piece of drama, Nganù is unfortunately held back either by a general lack of technical polish (sometimes leading to unintentional comedy within its dead-serious subject matter), or the misjudged attempt to feel grander than it should. When the film sticks to painful, ugly, intimate human drama, it actually starts to command attention. There's a striking lack of romantic sentiment to this story of a horrible person trying to redeem himself, as the film's many handheld camera shots capture its best performers at their nastiest (or most defiant)—showing us that the road to healing isn't actually as easy as it seems in Hollywood movies. Nganù sticks to its strict sense of morality, which is the best thing it could have done.

Genre: Drama

Actor: Alenne Menget, Azah Melvine, Hakeem Kae-Kazim, Kang Quintus, Muriel Blanche

Director: Kang Quintus