A Mauritanian woman’s experience with gauvage: mandatory fattening of the bride before marriage
You might have heard of the practice of gavage: a mandatory fattening of the bride before her wedding in Mauritania. Italian filmmaker Michela Occhipinti decided to make her feature film around this practice, venturing into the country that, except for the wonderful films of Abderrahmane Sissako, remains one of the more obscure to the world. The result is a subtle, smart study of a culture where beauty standards and the way they are enforced are the opposite to what we are used to the Western and westernized word. Verida, the main character, is a young urban woman who starts her gavage. As she struggles with her 10 hearty meals a day, we explore the contemporary Nouakchott through her eyes, and encounter different people with different opinions of what Verida’s journey should be. However, the decision is ultimately hers. A brilliant film that was extremely hard to make shines with its sheer humanity and a remarkable non-professional cast.
Flesh Out (Il Corpo della Sposa), 2019
Director: Michela Occhipinti
For more content like this sign up for our weekly newsletter