Alifa has reached the age when girls in her village undergo a ritual cutting she fears.
‘With the giant wings of my soul, I fly through the hole in the sky looking for you.’
Alifa, a young shepherdess in northwestern Somalia, provides an extraordinary view into her dusty, desolate corner of the world in Beerato, a small village in the autonomous region of Somaliland. With her mother dead since her birth and her grandmother far away in the city, Alifa lives with her aunt, learning the ways of the village from the other women, and tending to her flock of sheep and goats. ‘At the moment, decisions in the village are made by men,’ she says. ‘My grandmother told me it has always been like this.’ But it’s her aunt who has started giving Alifa more food, preparing her for the ritualised female genital cutting that awaits her and nearly every other girl in the region. Alifa hasn’t told anybody, but she is afraid. Informed by the experiences of the Beerato-born writer and activist Amina Souleiman, this film by the New York-based directors Antonio Tibaldi and Alex Lora is a subtle but uncompromising exploration of what it is to be a woman subject to violent traditions and culture.