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Rosine Mbakam

Rosine Mbakam

"An original filmmaker of exquisite sensibility; one of the foremost filmmakers of creative nonfiction working right now." —Richard Brody, The New Yorker

"Her three remarkable features cement Mbakam as a powerful director exploring intimacy, womanhood, and African identity in her work." —True/False Film Festival

Rosine Mfetgo Mbakam grew up in a traditional family in Cameroon and decided to pursue a career in cinema at a young age. In 2000, she began studying film with the Italian non-governmental organization COE (Centro orientamento Educativo) in Yaoundé, where she learned cinematography, editing, and directing. She would go on to work on a number of films for the NGO.

After a meeting with Mactar Sylla, Mbakam joined the team at STV (Spectrum télévision) in 2003, editing and directing a number of audiovisual programs for them.

In 2007, she left Cameroon for Brussels, where she enrolled at the Institut Supérieur des Arts (INSAS) to study film directing. After earning her diploma, she co-directed the short film Tu seras mon allié (You Will Be My Ally), with Mirko Popovitch for the Belgian cultural co-operation organization Africalia. The film is a portrait of Congolese artist Freddy Tsimba.

Mbakam founded Tandor Productions with Geoffroy Cernaix in 2014, and made her first personal documentary, The Two Faces of a Bamileke Woman (Les Deux visages d’une femme bamiléké) through the company. Released in 2017, it was an official selection in some 60 festivals, including IFFR Rotterdam, and won awards around the world.

Her second feature-length documentary, Chez Jolie Coiffure, was released in 2018. It had its world premiere at DOK Leipzig and has screened as an official selection at dozens of festivals. Soon after, she put out two feature-length films, Delphine's Prayers and Prism (which was co-directed with Eléonore Yameogo and An van. Dienderen). The True/False Film Festival awarded Mbakam the True Vision Award in 2021.

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Rosine Mbakam
  • Chez Jolie Coiffure

    Directed by Rosine Mbakam • Documentary • 2018 • 70 minutes

    Sabine attaches a hair weave and gets to work. Her hands move quickly and precisely, as she tightly braids the hair in front of the sign in her salon promising African, European, and American-style coiffure. Sabine is a larger than-life...

  • Delphine's Prayers

    Directed by Rosine Mbakam • Documentary • 2021 • 91 minutes

    Delphine reclines on a daybed in her bright, cluttered apartment in Belgium, an empty crib beside her. “I started to work the streets like crazy,” she says, matter-of-factly recounting her life story. “Selling my body.” Delphine, who is...

  • Doors of the Past

    Directed by Rosine Mbakam • Drama • 2011 • 14 minutes

    A professionally dressed white woman, a television anchor, sits in the studio, pen in hand. She looks straight into the camera and says, “At home, the older you get, the more people respect you. Here, old people have no use. It frightens me. ...

  • The Two Faces of a Bamileke Woman

    Directed by Rosine Mbakam • Documentary • 2016 • 76 minutes

    Rosine Mbakam left Cameroon at 27 to live in Belgium. Seven years later—having studied film and married a European—she returns to make what she calls a journey into darkness—to the village of her birth, and later to the capital city of ...

  • You Will Be My Ally

    Directed by Rosine Mbakam • Drama • With Bwanga Pilipili • 2013 • 20 minutes

    In this gripping short drama, Domé, a young woman from Gabon who speaks flawless French, is apprehended at the airport on her way into Belgium. She says she’s a French citizen—a businesswoman on her way to meet with sup...