I Am Not A Witch. (12A.)
Directed by Rungano Nyoni.
Starring Maggie Mulubwa, Henry B.J. Phiri, Nancy Murilo, Rita Mubanga and Dyna Mufuni. 90 mins.
Contrary to the title, when 8-year old Shula (Mulubwa) is accused of being a witch by the people of her village she doesn't deny it. And this despite it being based on some fairly arbitrary evidence – a woman drops a bucket of water when she looks at her; a man has a strange dream with her in. So she is whisked away by Minister for Tourism and Traditional Beliefs Mr Banda (Phiri) to live in his colony of witches. Here the women all have white ribbons attached to their backs, connected to giant spindles, which prevent them flying away. When they are all working in the field they resemble a free ranging police cordon.
The film has an offbeat charm, with moments of gentle humour, mild surrealism and surprising emotional depth. Mulubwa is perfect in the lead role. Like all great screen performers she appears to be doing nothing, while doing everything.