ITOL Top 50 Films of the Decade, Entry No. 40: I Am Not A Witch

A dry humour. An uncomfortable satire. A stunning fairytale tableaux. “I Am Not A Witch” (2017) has an impact that’s hard to describe. The film starts with a young Zambian girl Shula (non-professional actor Margaret Mulubwa) being accused of witchcraft. She is given the choice of being turned into a goat or declaring she is a witch. She chooses to say she is a witch and is taken to live in a ‘witch camp’.

At the witch camp Shula is cared for and encouraged by the other women who all remain attached to long white ribbons at all times lest they fly away. Tourists arrive by minibus to leer at them as a local attraction and they’re loaned out to work long hours for someone else’s benefit. Continue reading ITOL Top 50 Films of the Decade, Entry No. 40: I Am Not A Witch

Review: Portrait of a Lady on Fire

This is the female gaze like you’ve never seen it before. “Portrait”–a film set in Brittany, France in the 18th century–is a showcase of how the depths of insight and poignancy in a work of art comes as a result of the artist having a deep, loving, obsessive understanding of their subject. It is a film about two women on an island with hardly anyone else around them and the painfully, yet deliciously slow romance that materializes from a connection of their minds, bodies, and souls.

The film is thematically rich and daring, yet never once seeks to shove a message or agenda down your throat; it’s a love story, plain and simple. Writer/director Céline Sciamma clearly isn’t interested in subverting history in an effort to appease the needs of a contemporary audience–yet in spite of that, this is a film brimming with human truths. It is reminiscent of the underpinnings and themes found Greek and Gothic literature and poetry. Tender, yet complex and multifaceted–this is in no way a political film, but rather, a subtle social commentary on the kinds of job opportunities available to women in the 18th century. Continue reading Review: Portrait of a Lady on Fire