I Am Not a Witch
Belief in witchcraft is alive and well in rural Zambia. As Shula, an eight-year-old transient girl, finds out when she unsuspectingly walks into a village and is mistaken for a bad spirit. After a brief public trial she is put in a witches’ colony, where she is tied up on a long white ribbon to stop her from flying away. During the day, she is forced to work on the land with the other ‘witches’, or sing songs for tourists. Shula's lot seems to be improving when Mister Banda, an opportunistic official, takes her under his wing to 'do business together'. He has her pronounce judgements, make rain and even appear in a TV show.
I Am Not a Witch clearly shows how accusations of witchcraft are often a mask for other forms of abuse of power and misogyny. This is no visual anthropological essay, however. The film contains fairy-tale elements, the soundtrack features Vivaldi and there is an unmistakable satirical undertone. A wonderful hybrid film by a promising debut filmmaker.