I Am Not a Witch
(2017) 93 mins
Director: Rungano Nyoni
Writer: Rungano Nyoni
Cinematography: David Gallego
Production Design: Nathan Parker
Music: Matthew James Kelly
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 Zambian-born Welsh director Rungano Nyoni as a fresh and fearless new voice in British film.
In English and Nyanja with subtitles
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Showings of this film are part of our Cinematheque season which is supported by the British Film Institute.
“Behind the droll satire is a sombre denunciation of the superstition, ignorance and prejudice that enables the corrupt elite in so many African countries to intimidate the lower classes and oppress women. Drawing on her observations in a Ghanaian witch camp, Nyoni opts for an elliptical approach that occasionally confuses, but Mulubwa’s exceptional impassivity and David Gallego’s unsettlingly striking imagery help keep this focused and fascinating. ” Radio Times
“Welsh-Zambian Rungano Nyoni blends fact, with just a smattering of magic realist fable to take a satirical sideswipe at the country of her birth – and sexual politics more widely. The result is not only laugh out loud funny, it also carries an emotional kick in the gut.” Eye for Film
“It’s rare and exhilarating that a new filmmaker arrives on the scene so sure of herself and so willing to take bold, counter-intuitive chances.” Variety