I Am Not A Witch
2018, 93, Digital, Not rated
UK, France, Germany
Language: English, Nyanja
Director: Rungano Nyoni
Cast: Maggie Mulubwa, Henry B.J Phiri
Distributor: Cruzan Artificial Eye
Zambian-born Welsh director Rungano Nyoni is set to make her mark on British cinema with her groundbreaking first feature, I Am Not a Witch. Sharply satirical and boldly provocative, the film garnered incredible praise from audiences and critics alike at the Cannes 2017 Directors’ Fortnight.
When eight-year-old Shula turns up alone and unannounced in a rural Zambian village, the locals are suspicious. A minor incident escalates to a full-blown witch trial, where she is found guilty and sentenced to life on a state-run witch camp. There, she is tethered to a long white ribbon and told that if she ever tries to run away, she will be transformed into a goat. As the days pass, Shula begins to settle into her new community, but a threat looms on the horizon. Soon she is forced to make a difficult decision – whether to resign herself to life on the camp, or take a risk for freedom.
At times moving, often funny and occasionally surreal, I Am Not a Witch offers spellbinding storytelling with flashes of anarchic humour. Audacious and unforgettable, it showcases Rungano Nyoni as a fresh and fearless new voice in British film.
“SPELLBINDING… AN EXTRAVAGANT FLIGHT OF FANCY THAT FUNCTIONS EQUALLY WELL AS AN ANTHROPOLOGICAL CURIOSITY, ENGROSSING DRAMA, FEMINIST ALLEGORY, TART POLITICAL SATIRE AND DIRE WARNING AGAINST XENOPHOBIA” – TARA BRADY, THE IRISH TIMES