A likeable movie for sad reasons

Delphine’s Prayers shares the tragic and excruciating life-story of Delphine, prisoner of her own life, and sheds light on the difficulties of living in Cameroon and migrating to another country.

Rosine Mfetgo Mbakam is a film dirctor who grew up in Africa, in Cameroon to be more precise. She moved to Belgium in which she studied at the Institut national supérieur des arts du spectacle et des techniques de diffusion, or INSAS. She realises her first short films during her studies, which are released as documentaries before her graduation in 2012. Her most famous documentaries focus on a common theme: the land she was born in and the Camerronian people who had to migrate. Her very first feature film, The Two Faces of a Bamiléké Woman, shows her return to Cameroon and to her family so many years after she left, focusing on and comparing her mother’s life to her own. Her second movie, Chez Jolie Coiffure, is the testimony of Sabine, a Cameroonian woman, who first shares her daily life working in a hairdressing salon and then talked about how she migrated from her homeland to end up in Belgique illegaly. Rosine Mbakam hesitated before releasing her third and most recent movie, Delphine’s Prayer, which was awarded the 2021 Young Jury Award during the movie festival Cinema du Réel.

Rosine Mftego Mbakam ©Tândor Productions

As the title implies, Delphine’s Prayers focuses on a Cameroonian woman of the name of Delphine, who is a friend of Rosine Mbakam’s. Whenever she feels like it, Delphine will talk to her friend and allow her to record their exchange. She goes on and deliver us the story of her life, from her very birth to the very traumatic events of her life and the reasons why she found herself in Belgium. This movie is absolutely painfull and heartbreaking to watch. It is not because it is a bad movie, but because few can watch this movie without shedding a tear, especially the scene giving this movie its title.

Delphine during one of her confession ©Tândor Production

For Delphine, this movie is a therapy. She needs to talk. She is in her safe space, in her intimacy, but that privacy is invaded for the documentary to be made. Delphine displays a real show of strenght by opening herself and showing her weakest aspects to the camera. This documentary is enjoyable to watch, but do not expect to have a good time viewing it as it is filled with sorrow, remorse and regrets.

Mohamed Mehdaoui

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