I Am Not A Witch is one of those films where I wasn’t really sure what I just watched, even though it parts of it were certainly worth a watch.
Shula (Maggie Mulubwa) is an eight-year-old girl in a commnuity full of residents in an area of Zambia, who clearly can’t be very bright because they assume that certain females are witches, which leads to a whole group of Women, tied up with ribbons to ensure they can’t fly off and kill people. Yes, it’s not a very tolerant society.
This comes about for the girl becuase she gets blamed for anything bad that happens, and at first, it’s amusing how everyone seems to take all this seriously.
There’s a test to see whether or not a chicken is a witch, in a scene where I thought the disc had got stuck due to dust or a scratch, but since the subtitles carried on, and the time kept counting up, I realised it was done for a visual point around whether or not the sacrifed poultry would be a witch if it died inside or outside a circle of salt. The pause in the picture just before the slaughter – and given this film is a 12-certificate – proved the disc pressing is not at fault.
I cannot confirm nor deny whether the chicken is a witch. You’ll have to watch the film to find out 😉
Subtitles are in English and also English for the hard of hearing, and I mention them, here, because things are a bit different from the average film. Basically, while there’s often improvised dialogue in Bemba, Nyanja and Tonga, there’s also occasionally English, mixed in with the same sentences, and it’s the latter subtitle option which also includes the English. Definitely choose that latter option, since the dialect is too strong to understand if you’re not famliar with it.
The first third was quite entertaining as it dealt with her situation in an oddly comical way, as the characters treated her situation as 100% realistic. After that, it just mostly meandered from one scene to the next like a road movie, but if the trip doesn’t grab you, then it feels as rocky a road as those that vehicles have to drive upon in Zambia.
The film is presented in the original theatrical 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen ratio and in 1080p high definition, and it brings the stunning scenery to life in brightly-shot scenes.
The sound is in DTS 5.1 HD-MA, but is mostly dialogue. There’s no problems with it, but there’s nothing to stand out.
The extras are as follows:
- Listen (13:26): The first of two short films: A muslim woman being interviewed about how she left with her son, but if she goes back to her husband, he’ll carry out his threats to kill them both. This is shown first from her point of view, then that of the interviewer and the story goes on from there.
The topic is important, but it doesn’t seem to progress much.
- Mwansa The Great (24:11): A woman and a child having a tea party, while their pet lion, Mwansa, resides nearby… and it just gets stupidly weird. Since I got bored with the main film, this didn’t improve things.
- Interviews with the cast and crew (79:32): If you’re looking for a ton more from this involved, you’ve come to the right place.
- Theatrical Trailer (1:44): In the original 2.35:1 widescreen ratio.
The menu features a scene from the film, and there’s the bog standard 12 chapters.
Running time: 93 minutes
Released: January 15th 2018
Sound: DTS HD-MA 5.1, DTS 5.1, Dolby Digital 5.1
Languages: A mixture of Bemba, Nyanja and Tonga
Disc Format: BD50
Director: Rungano Nyoni
Producer: Juliette Grandmont
Screenplay: Rungano Nyoni
Music: Matthew James Kelly
Shula: Maggie Mulubwa
Police Officer: Nellie Munamonga
Leader: Dyna Mufuni
Charity: Nancy Murilo
Herself – Hip Hop Singer: Brisky
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.