Review

Runagano Nyoni‘s 2017 film I Am Not a Witch tells the story of …….

 

 

 

I_Am_Not_a_Witch
Official Movie Poster

 

 

Mark Kermode of The Guardian argues that film is a masterpiece:

 

Nyoni was apparently inspired by real-life reports of witchcraft accusations in Zambia, and her research took her to Ghana, where she became the first foreigner to sleep in one of the world’s oldest “witch camps”. Here, she observed first hand the daily rituals of these women whose fates have been sealed by “nothing more than hearsay”. Yet for all its factual grounding, I Am Not a Witch is also a work of fairytale invention, unravelling the threads of its quasi-mythical narrative with anarchic aplomb. In particular, the motif of women restrained from flight by vast lengths of white ribbon has a touch of Charles Perrault or the brothers Grimm – a magical-realist conceit that brilliantly dramatises the down-to-earth reality of the ties that bind.

 

 

Nyoni was apparently inspired by real-life reports of witchcraft accusations in Zambia, and her research took her to Ghana, where she became the first foreigner to sleep in one of the world’s oldest “witch camps”. Here, she observed first hand the daily rituals of these women whose fates have been sealed by “nothing more than hearsay”. Yet for all its factual grounding, I Am Not a Witch is also a work of fairytale invention, unravelling the threads of its quasi-mythical narrative with anarchic aplomb. In particular, the motif of women restrained from flight by vast lengths of white ribbon has a touch of Charles Perrault or the brothers Grimm – a magical-realist conceit that brilliantly dramatises the down-to-earth reality of the ties that bind.

 

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