I Am Not a Witch
Director: Rungano Nyon
Cast: Gloria Nuwiler, Chilshe Kalimamukento, Travers Merrill
Country of Origin: UK-France 2017 90 mins.
Official Selection Directors' Fortnight 2017 Cannes Film Festival
Released by Curzon Artificial Eye
When Shula (Marie Mulubwa), a shy, 8-year-old orphan turns up in a rural Zambian village, suspicions are raised and she's labelled a witch. At her trial a police officer listens to witnesses, including a man whose arm was chopped off and miraculously restored. The villager's win and Shula's placed in a state sponsored witch camp with a long white ribbon on her back tying her to the group. If she cuts the ribbon she'll turn into a goat. Shula's quite a camera catch for European and American tourists and Government official Mr Banda (Henry P.J. Phiri) uses her to solve criminal cases. Seeming to accept her new life, the question remains will Shula seek freedom.
It's impossible to categorize, with a mix of satire, ancient suspicions, surreal moments and at times a documentary feel plus a Vivaldi score. Interesting, but it tends to be static at times, chaotic at others and overall tries that bit too hard. Zambian-born Welsh director Rungano Nyoni debut feature 'I Am Not A Witch' screened in the Directors' Fortnight at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival.