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I Am Not a Witch

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭   Read critic reviews

United Kingdom, France, Germany

2017

1h 33m

Director Rungano Nyoni

Starring Maggie Mulubwa, Henry B.J. Phiri, Gloria Huwiler, Nellie Munamonga

Genre Drama

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In a small Zambian village, Shula, an 8-year-old girl, is convicted of witchcraft. As a result, Shula is brought to live in a penal colony where witches do hard labor in service of the government. The film plays like a cautionary fable or a satirical parable about rituals, social structures, and sexism.

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WHAT ARE CRITICS SAYING?

88

Slant Magazine by

It finds that rare nexus of the comic and the tragic, underlining the absurdity of a terrible situation without demeaning those who have been harmed by it.
80

Time Out London by Anna Smith

A startling movie, I Am Not a Witch is many things. It’s a magic realist fable set in present-day Zambia that has plenty to say about gender and superstition. It’s also a satire, a tragedy and a comedy. And, impressively, debut writer-director Rungano Nyoni makes this heady mix work.
60

The Guardian by Gwilym Mumford

It’s a strange witches brew of deadpan farce and arthouse stillness that some will find exasperating, and it’s not without its missteps; but there’s a confidence and clarity of vision that’s hard not to admire, especially for a first feature.
70

Variety by Jessica Kiang

Singular as that story might be, what makes I Am Not a Witch unique, however, is Nyoni’s abundant, maybe even overabundant directorial confidence. 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.
80

CineVue by John Bleasdale

Mulubwa’s performance gives I Am Not a Witch its furious heart, but Nyoni weaves her spells subtly and has produced a film of intensity, satire and grace.
75

The Film Stage by John Fink

I Am Not a Witch is as fresh as it is provocative despite a few false notes along the way, especially in the film’s third act.
80

The Observer (UK) by Mark Kermode

This daringly satirical parable of magic and misogyny, superstition and social strictures confirms [Nyoni's] promise as a film-maker of fiercely independent vision, with a bright future ahead.
90

The Hollywood Reporter by Stephen Dalton

A fable-like story about a young African girl banished from her village for alleged witchcraft, it blends deadpan humor with light surrealism, vivid visuals and left-field musical choices.
70

Screen International by Wendy Ide

The film crafts a framework of superstition and ritual, onto which is hung a vividly realised, if somewhat enigmatic portrait of a child’s life.

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