The outrageous practice of trokosi is hardly given the dramatic treatment it deserves.

The outrageous and under-reported practice of trokosi, a religion-based form of justice-by-slavery still practiced in Ghana and other West African nations, is hardly given the dramatic treatment it deserves in the woefully conceived (and titled) “Punctured Hope: A Story About Trokosi and Young Girls’ Slavery in Today’s West Africa.” Casting actual trokosi victim Belinda Siamey as a girl punished for the supposed crimes of her male relative, director/co-writer Bruno Pischiutta flubs the opportunity to insert nonfiction into a drama. All-English dialogue track isn’t enough to raise commercial prospects for a film brought down by lumbering pacing and rampant overacting.

Younger progressive locals such as Amegatshe (Ruffy Samuel Quansah) can’t budge the elders of the village of Kpobikofe into the modern world, and matters come to a head when drunk chieftains drop an envelope of cash that’s found by Kudjo (Joseph Jones Havor). Ignoring the age-old finders-keepers rule, the elders try Kudjo for theft, but implement trokosi by nabbing Kudjo’s young relative Edinam (Siamey) and punishing her with sexual mutilation and servitude. Edinam’s torture is suggested and not filmed outright.

Punctured Hope: A Story About Trokosi and Young Girls' Slavery in Today's West Africa

Canada

Production

A Toronto Pictures presentation of an Adhara Properties production. Produced by Daria Trifu, Bruno Pischiutta. Executive producers, Pischiutta, Trifu. Directed by Bruno Pischiutta. Screenplay, Kingsley Sam Obed, Pischiutta.

Crew

Camera (Deluxe color and prints), Carmelo Dodaro; editors, Pischiutta, Maria Concetta Diletti; music, David Brandstatter; production designers, Isaac Kofi Assare, Ayuba Ibrahim Mony, Emmanuel Kwadjo Broni; costume designers, Seayram Esamboye, Elizabeth Agbetepey. Reviewed at Kodak screening room, Los Angeles, Dec. 11, 2009. (In Montreal World Film Festival.) Running time: 91 MIN.

With

Belinda Siamey, Fred Amugi, Gavinina Tamakloe, Ruffy Samuel Quansah, Frost Asiedu, Joyce Akagbo, Joseph Jones Havor, Michael Tuffour Ampem.
With: Belinda Siamey, Fred Amugi, Gavinina Tamakloe, Ruffy Samuel Quansah, Frost Asiedu, Joyce Akagbo, Joseph Jones Havor, Michael Tuffour Ampem.
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