The Cutting Tradition

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Release date: 2009
Directed by: Nancy Durrell McKenna, John Howarth
Produced by: International Federation of Obstetricians & Gynecologists
Running time: 48 minutes

The Cutting Tradition focuses on the issue of female genital mutilation, a custom, which appears barbaric to the westernised eye but is still practiced in many African and some Middle-Eastern countries. Despite being illegal in many of the places where it is practiced, FGM continues to be administered to very young women, often even little girls. In the majority of cases it exposes them to medical and psychological problems from which they sometimes never recover. The reasons are rooted in religious, cultural and historical grounds.

Production Notes

Natives of Burkina Faso, Egypt, Djibouti and Ethiopia express their opinions both in support of and against FGM. Their authentic, undiluted statements highlight the difficulty of resolving an issue that is as deeply rooted in their cultures as it is shocking to us. Narrated by Meryl Streep, with footage of traditional wedding celebrations and a shocking scene which follows a young girl experiencing FGM, Streep’s narration takes us through this journey in a delicate and non-judgemental way.