Directed by Ngozi Onwurah • 1993 • United Kingdom
Ngozi Onwurah’s illuminating documentary follows two Nigerian women through their differing experiences of a traditional rite of passage. As part of an initiation ceremony known as Iria, young virgins spend five weeks in “fattening rooms,” wearing heavy copper coils on their legs to enforce inactivity as they are waited on and pampered by their families, in preparation for marriage. One of the young village women, Florence, is eager to take part. But Azikiwe, who returns from the city at her father’s behest, is not certain she wants to participate. Through voice-over commentary and interviews, MONDAY’S GIRLS explores how tradition, modernity, dissent, and contradiction shape the lives of Nigerian women.