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The Influence of Preconceived Assumptions on Viewers' Perception of Foreign Films

The majority of the time, viewers of foreign-produced films find themselves watching with preconceived assumptions about their dislike of that nations' cultural customs. Such presumptions, which Said refers to as "the Orient," result in the creation of a barrier that influences how a viewer perceives the culture depicted in a given film. In my experience, it has occurred severally that I developed an assumption regarding a movie I watched, and while some assumptions I had were evidenced in the movie, some would end up being fallacious. The movie Moolaade, a West African film directed by Ousmane Sembene, is an illustration of some of the practices embodied within the African culture and their way of living. Despite my clouded assumptions of the African culture, it is evident that some of my beliefs are validated through the movie Moolaade.

Assumptions About Africa's Infrastructural Development

I have always imagined Africa as a third world continent that is in need of facilities and other infrastructural developments. This notion is guided by Said’s argument that "the geographic boundaries accompany the social, ethnic, and cultural ones in expected ways (Said 54)." This means that a person may be bound to hold certain assumptions regarding a certain country since those two countries are separated by geographic boundaries. To validate my assumption, we are geographically separated with Africa and do not share any geographical similarities. Based on defining my assumptions with the movie, it is evident that Moolaade portrays the actual African culture and their ways of practice. The plot of the movie is set in a colorful village that filled with termite mounds and a mosque that is designed from clay, which looks like a huge hedgehog (Moolaade, time code 5.01). This scenario is a clear indication of the infrastructural setup in Africa and their livelihood. The fact that a mosque is built using clay instead of bricks develops my validation that Africa lacks facilities and need proper infrastructural development. Furthermore, based on their traditions, the young girls are genitally mutilated using a knife or iron sheet and then sewed with a thorn. The use of traditional means of operation instead of proper medical attention makes my assumption valid that Africa is lagging behind on infrastructure. Therefore, having watched the movie, Moolaade makes me agree with some of my assumptions that I hold about Africa.

Retrospective and Barbaric African Customs

Besides, some of their cultural practices embraced in Africa, which I assume to be retrospective, and barbaric are evidenced in Moolaade. The act of conducting Female Genital Mutilation and naming it ‘purification’ as seen in the movie is a practice that we do not practice in our country. This act, which has been condemned and considered barbaric in many countries, could lead to death due to over bleeding or infection of the wound. For this reason, my assumption regarding African customs and practices is validated by the movie.


In conclusion, people hold different views regarding other countries and these assumptions may be extended to the movies they watch from those particular countries. The movie Moolaade, an African film, illustrates some of the practices embraced in Africa and displays some of the assumptions that I hold against the continent. Practices such as female genital mutilation denote that the practices that these countries practice are barbaric and retrospective. Furthermore, the thatched houses and a mosque built of clay is an indication of the need for infrastructural development. Therefore, my assumptions about Africa have been validated by the movie Moolaade.

Works Cited

Moolaade. Directed by Ousmane Sembène, 2005.

Said, Edward. Orientalism. Pantheon Books, 1978.

April 06, 2023

Movies Hobby Communication

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