ShortList 2016: A French Dad Brings Home a Second Wife in ‘Maman(s)’ (Video)

“I really wanted to show the suffering of women and particularly of children,” filmmaker Maïmouna Doucouré tells TheWrap

French filmmaker Maïmouna Doucouré didn’t have to look far for inspiration for “Maman(s),” her short film about an 8-year-old girl named Aida who lives in a polygamous household.

“I grew up with two mothers in a polygamist family in France when I was a child,” Doucouré told TheWrap. “It’s actually very common around me, in my family, or my neighbors. A lot of people live in polygamist families.”

In the opening scenes of “Maman(s),” a finalist in TheWrap’s ShortList Film Festival, Aida’s mom excitedly gets ready for her husband’s arrival after spending time away in Senegal. But she’s surprised when he returns with a new wife, Rama, and a newborn baby.

The mood instantly changes from celebration to disappointment and silent anger. “I really wanted to show the suffering of women and particularly of children because, for me, we often forget to think about them and speak to them,” Doucouré said.

She acknowledged that many question why a woman would put up with the situation — but the reasons are often complicated.

“From what I see around me, sometimes there is no choice,” said Doucouré. “Sometimes it’s a kind of arrangement between the families. Sometimes some women are old, when I say old I mean 30 years old or more than 30 years old, it becomes difficult to find a husband so they’d rather marry someone who has a wife because it’s better than nothing.”

The filmmaker said that although the “Maman(s) focuses on polygamy, it’s not just about that. The issues in the film also extend to children who were affected by divorce.

“This is not the happy ending,” said Doucouré. “The thing is that this little girl understands that this is not her fight, this is the fight of her parents.”

Watch the film above. Viewers can also screen the films at any time during the festival at Shortlistfilmfestival.com and vote from Aug. 9-23.