Sisters in Law. 2005. Cameroon/USA. Directed by Kim Longinotto, Florence Ayisi. 35mm. 104 min.
In the series description for Kim Longinotto’s 2009 MoMA retrospective, Sally Berger wrote, “By seeking out, observing, and following the untold stories of women’s daily lives, she has created cinéma vérité portraits of the larger society and cultural customs.” This suitable description of Longintto’s career-long commitment to lesser-known women’s stories is exemplified by Sisters in Law, a co-directorial effort with Cameroonian filmmaker and professor Florence Ayisi. A confident observational documentary, the film follows prosecutor Vera Ngassa and court president Beatrice Ntuba as they defend women and children in cases of abuse in Kumba, Cameroon. An effortless tonal balance is struck between the women’s righteous determination for legal justice and the clear compassion with which they perform their work, resulting in a vital profile of women working to help other women.