Senegalese director Ousmane Sembene's Moolaade might just be the most critically acclaimed film of 2004 you didn't see, which makes this surprisingly accessible exploration of a rather squeamish topic (female genital mutilation in Africa) a ripe choice for the New Orleans Film Festival's ongoing series of special screenings. The plot may be simple -- a village woman (Fatoumata Coulibaly) uses a tribal 'waiver' of sorts (the 'moolaade') to protect four young girls who do not want to go through the aforementioned ritual. But it reveals the complexities of tribal customs in the face of modernization. That the 82-year-old Sembene can explore such a touchy subject with a witty script and engaging, fully realized characters is a testament to his formidable skills. His most prescient message: Just because it's a tradition doesn't make it right. (For a complete review, see next week's issue.) Tickets $7.50 general admission, $6.50 NOFF members.

7 p.m. Monday-Tuesday, May 16-17

Prytania Theatre, 5339 Prytania St., 891-2787 A-

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