The Day I Will Never Forget

Director: Kim Longinotto

Institute History

  • 2003 Sundance Film Festival


A nine-year-old girl, wearing a pure white dress, recites directly to the camera a poem she has written,"The Day I Will Never Forget." She is remarkably composed, her delivery strong. She tells us about herself, her fear, and unforgettable pain—a child, lured by her mother, dragged and pinned to the ground, and forced to be circumcised.

In this intimate and powerful documentary, Kim Longinotto (known for such exceptional documentaries as Divorce Iranian Style and Gaea Girls) explores the continuing practice of female genital mutilation in Kenyan society. With great sensitivity, she delivers the delicate substance of the custom via both her documentarian's sense of distance and the extraordinary access she has to people affected by it.

While Longinotto is clearly sympathetic to the young victims, she also gives voice to the older women who advance the practice in the name of tradition, never losing sight of the moral, spiritual, and physical dangers involved. The Day I Will Never Forget is ultimately hopeful, finding spiritual sustenance in the courage of a young girl to confront her mother, the strength of an enlightened nurse, the rebellious spirit of a group of young children who defy their parents and find refuge in the power of the law, and always, the potential for change in education, intelligence, and time.

— Diane Weyermann

Screening Details

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