I am not a witch

Written by ebookingservices

Rungano Nyoni (Zambia, 1982) is the direction and script of the film I am not a witch (United Kingdom, 2017), his first feature film, with which he won the BAFTA award for Best Directorial Debut and Best Screenwriter, as well as Best Film and Best Director at the British Independent Film Awards 2017. He was born in the Zambian capital At the age of nine he emigrated to Wales. She is a graduate of the University of the Arts London. She has dedicated herself to acting and film.

In the story that Shula (Maggie Mulubwa) tells us, she is nine years old and an orphan. The girl is considered to be responsible for the perpetual drought in the region. She without any proof she is accused of witchcraft. She is brought to trial. She is at a complete disadvantage. She has no way of defending herself against the accusation that has been fabricated against her. She is condemned and she must choose between confessing as a witch or becoming a goat. She opts for the former and is sent into exile to a lockdown camp with other witches.

Here all the women are adults and she is the only girl. It is a “rehabilitation” camp for witches who work as farm workers or are subjected to the curiosity of tourists. They cooperate” with the civilian government under the orders of an abusive official, Mr. Banda (Henry BJ Phiri). They live like slaves chained with ribbons, so they don’t “fly”. For Charity (Nancy Murilo), converse witch, Banda’s wife, “obeying everything and getting married” is the bargaining chip to get out of the prison camps. Nyoni, for the film, visited a witch camp in Ghana.

The official finds a gold mine in Shula. He dedicates himself to exploiting it. He takes her to television and the interviewer asks about her life as a witch. He has the function of enslaving and ruling the community. Among other things, he investigates the crimes that occur among imprisoned women and exercises “justice” through the “powers” of Shula, who is not fully aware of what is happening.

Nyoni with this film portrays the contemporary phenomenon of girls accused of witchcraft in sub-Saharan African countries. It is a denunciation of the exploitation that they and all the women who are in their situation experience. The director chooses to face the story from a girl as a symbol of the permanence of practices of abuse, exploitation and slavery towards women in general and in particular those who are not “normal” since childhood.

Specialized critics argue that it is impossible to pigeonhole the film by this director born in Zambia. There is a vision that goes beyond ideology, politics and also the anthropological narrative. The film has different tones and approaches the story from different angles of view. On one side is the aesthetic where the beauty of the landscape and the colors of nature stand out. Ironic and scathing criticism is present. Frank mockery. Feelings and emotions take place. It never falls into the exotic.

I am not a witch

Original title: I Am Not A Witch

Production: UK-France-Germany, 2017

Direction: Rugano Nyoni

Screenplay: Rugano Nyoni

Photography: David Gallego

Music: Matt Kelly

Starring: Maggie Mulubwa, Gloria Huwiler, Chileshe Kalimamukwento, Henry BJ Phiri, Dyna Mufuni (…)


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