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...
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Nordic Factory is a Residency, Workshop and Short Film Concept that stimulates cultural and cinematic meetings between young film directors, while giving them an international platform to ... See full summary »
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. 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 on a large truck. She is told that should she ever cut the ribbon, she'll be cursed and transformed into a goat.
This is one of those films where you will end up confused. Why, you ask. Well, for one you will not be certain of what is going on, or rather why things are going on. And secondly, you will not be certain whether you are supposed to feel uncomfortable throughout the film, or it is just a possible result of your own interpretation. It bodes that age-old question: what did the author want to say? Or in this case, the director.
I am not sure. Truly, not. Of course, there are traces of feminism here, socio-cultural critique, reclaiming Africanism rather than the post-colonial structures in place in Africa. That is all great. The story, however, is too rigid yet too vague. It doesn't make sense, does it? That's my point.
Acting is excellent, especially the young Maggie Mulubwa, who says more with her eyes than many actors can in any monologue or dialogue.
Cinematography is beautiful, especially in relation to the ribbons that are allocated to the witches. Otherwise, the film's story is quite disturbing and disjointed. I felt uncomfortable throughout but was not quite sure if that was the feeling intended or just a mixture of discomfort and confusion as to what is going on.
Definitely worth a watch, but it is not something that would be easily understood or easily appreciated for its vagueness. Considering it is Rungano Nyoni's debut feature, I am sure she will easily build further on the fundaments she has established through I Am Not a Witch.
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