I Am Not a Witch ★★★½

A lot of the time when European film funds produce movies in Africa they take on a didactic tone that stifles the creative voice. This movie is entirely free of that though, and instead feels like an auteur's vision. Not just because every shot looks amazing, but more so that it combines a very local story with universal themes. It's less about backwards gender politics in Zambia, and more about how it works metaphorically and as a personal drama.

It's also rare (in my limited experience) to see such a strong leading performance from an inexperienced young actor. I guess the casting process supports that claim, and perhaps it's more a case of skilled direction covering up possible weaknesses. The movie is at its best when it goes into Xala territory though, with ridiculous government officials and European tourists. They are all portrayed as fairly harmless, but destructively oblivious. It's not didactic, but it is sharp satire.

Carl liked this review