Rosine Mbakam

Rosine Mfetgo Mbakam grew up in a traditional family in Cameroon and decided to pursue a career in cinema at a young age. In 2000, she began studying film with the Italian non-governmental organization COE (Centro orientamento Educativo) in Yaoundé, where she learned cinematography, editing, and directing. She would go on to work on several films for the NGO.

In 2007, she left Cameroon for Brussels, where she enrolled at the Institut Supérieur des Arts (INSAS) to study film directing. After earning her diploma, she directed the award-winning short film You Will Be My Ally.

Mbakam's first feature-length documentary The Two Faces Of A Bamileke Woman documented her return to Cameroon seven years later with her young son, after having studied film directing and getting married. The New York Times commented: "Rosine Mbakam makes a remarkable debut; demonstrates a mastery of perspective, a rare ability to include the camera in community."

Her second feature-length documentary, Chez Jolie Coiffure, released in 2018, captures the day-to-day lives and concerns of immigrant West African women in a local hair salon. It had its world premiere at DOK Leipzig and has screened as an official selection at dozens of festivals. IndieWire called the film "a must-see! Highly revealing, an atypical and timely portrait of the intersection between the immigrant experience and female identity.”

Mbakam followed up with Delphine's Prayers in 2021, an intimate portrait of a Cameroonian woman. Also released in 2021, Prism, co-directed with Eléonore Yameogo and An van. Dienderen, looked to answer the question of whether the technology of photography and motion pictures is inherently racist. Prism premiered at the New York Film Festival in 2021.

After four award-winning documentaries, Mbakam turned her documentarian's eye to fiction filmmaking. Her debut fiction feature Mambar Pierrette had its world premiere at Cannes Film Festival in 2023, premiered theatrically at New York City's Anthology Film Archives.

Icarus Films is proud to distribute Rosine Mbakam's complete filmography. Four of Mbakam's critically acclaimed, award-winning feature documentaries were released by Icarus Films Home Video in 2021 on a four-disc special edition box set, Prisms & Portraits: The Films of Rosine Mbakam. The collectible DVD set also includes her two early shorts, You Will Be My Ally and Doors of the Past.

More information: Tandor Productions. Discover more of our featured filmmakers.

"An original filmmaker of exquisite sensibility; one of the foremost filmmakers of creative nonfiction working right now." —The New Yorker


Step inside a tiny underground hair salon and meet its charismatic owner, a Cameroonian immigrant named Sabine.

Rosine Mbakam | 2019 | 70 minutes | Color | Cameroon Pidgin; French | English subtitles

A portait of Delphine, a Cameroonian woman who turned to prostitution to support her family.

Rosine Mbakam | 2021 | 91 minutes | Color | Cameroon Pidgin; French; English | English subtitles

Juxtaposes the testimonies of three Rwandan genocide survivors—Rosette, Charlotte, and Christine—with images of well-dressed white Belgian women.

Rosine Mbakam | 2021 | 14 minutes | Color | French | English subtitles

Acclaimed documentary filmmaker Rosine Mbakam's narrative film debut about a seamstress facing a series of misfortunes.

Rosine Mbakam | 2023 | 93 minutes | Color | French; Bamileke; Cameroon Pidgin | English subtitles

The hidden racism of cinematic technology is explored by three dynamic filmmakers in dialogue with one another.

Eléonore Yameogo, An van. Dienderen, and Rosine Mbakam | 2021 | 78 minutes | Color | French | English subtitles

Four documentaries and 2 short films are included in this box set, with a 6-page booklet about the filmmaker.

Rosine Mbakam | 2022 | 349 minutes | Color | Cameroon Pidgin; French | English subtitles

Motivated by a desire to better understand her past, Rosine Mbakam returns to Cameroon after many years to interview her mother.

Rosine Mbakam | 2019 | 76 minutes | Color | French; Bamileke | English subtitles

In this gripping short drama, Domé, a young woman from Gabon who speaks flawless French, is apprehended at the airport on her way into Belgium.

Rosine Mbakam | 2021 | 20 minutes | Color | French | English subtitles