I Am Not a Witch
I Am Not a Witch
Following a banal incident in her local village, 8-year old girl Shula is accused of witchcraft. After a short trial she is found guilty, taken into state custody and exiled to a witch camp in the middle of a desert. At the camp she takes part in an initiation ceremony where she is shown the rules surrounding her new life as a witch. Like the other residents, Shula is tied to a ribbon which is attached to a coil that perches in a large tree. She is told that should she ever cut the ribbon, she'll be cursed and transformed into a goat.
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February 17, 2018 at 09:55 AM
Spellbinding, witty and satirically funny
I sat down to watch it, and wasn't expecting much from the movie. Little did I know that I was in for some big laughs. The story is beautifully written, and the acting was superb, considering many of the cast were debuting. The cast, specifically the young Maggie Mulubwa and Henry B.J. Phiri played their roles exceptionally well. I highly recommend this movie. If you have a witty sense of humor, you'll love this movie. Kuddos to Rungano Nyoni.
Overall, I am Not a Witch is a clever, funny, and provocative film which will linger with you long after its credits roll
I am Not a Witch is a hilarious and harrowing tale from one of the finest new voices.
I am Not a Witch is the debut film from Zambian-born director Rungano Nyoni. It tells the story of a young girl, Shula, accused of witchcraft after a trivial mishap. The phenomenon in Zambia relates not to a cackling Shakespearean witch, but a relatively innocuous kind. These witches change the weather, read minds, and would fly away if untethered. Purportedly. It is a ludicrous social construction used by selfish men to oppress women. Although the subject matter is alarming, the narrative mostly filters through the comedy of its absurdity. The humour is at times reminiscent of Sacha Baron Cohen's movies or Monty Python. It's probably the grandiose confidence of foolish characters. There is a moment where the whole judicial system is reduced to Shula's guess.
But a deeper meaning flutters behind the comedy, like the platform behind a racing train. Seen only in the flashes of space between the carriages. This movie certainly has a dark side. And the unexpected appearance of the cold reality almost grated against the lighthearted side. The dark truth appears every now and then like a needle scratched off a record. This is by no means a bad thing. It makes the glimpses of truth all the more impactful after you inevitably lose yourself in the comedy again. The reality behind the movie is no more forgiving once the credits roll, because it ends on one final needle scratch, and leaves you to digest the movie, and its relation to our modern world. There are obvious parallels between the African political system, or lack thereof, and the Trump Administration and post-truth media.
The deep truth underlying this movie needs to be heard.
The cinematography of I am Not a Witch is also excellent. The shots are very minimalist, giving a sense of realism and intimacy with the narrative, and there are dashes of creative flair, with lingering shots during the realist scenes.
Review from Student Pages: http://www.studentpages.biz/i-am-not-witch-review/
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Powerful and thought provoking drama
I'm disappointed there aren't more reviews on this superb little film, considering it's the work of a first time director who shows impressive talent and promise.
The good: excellent camera work which uses the parched landscape of rural Zambia to great effect, reinforcing the interior lives of the characters and moving the story forwards.
The little girl is superb in the role, one of the greatest performances I've seen from a child actor in a long time, she conveys everything without speaking, simply from her expression or body language. Incredible.
Plenty to read into the film, the three friends I went with had plenty to say about it afterwards and we all agreed the themes it explored apply to every human culture, not just an African one. the same behaviours and ways people delude themselves or accept ridiculous beliefs because they want to belong, the way human societies find someone to scapegoat and project on to that person all of the groups ills, all this is depressingly familiar.
My only criticism is this is again a film of Afro pessimism, there's precious few films from the continent making it on to cinema screens, the only ones I can think of recently are Felicite, Johnny Mad Dog. Both somewhat gloomy subject matter. it would be nice to see some films that offered a different perspective. Having lived and worked in Africa I know there's a lot more to the continent than child witches, child soldiers, FGM, HIV epidemics, diseases, starvation corrupt leaders and so on...
People get on in much the way they do anywhere, making the best of what little they have...