The Gene Siskel Film Center presents programming in the spirit of the Black Harvest Film Festival all year long!
I Am Not A Witch
2017, Rungano Nyoni, UK/France/Germany, 93 min. With Margaret Mulubwa, Henry B.J. Phiri.
"One of the obvious breakouts of the year: exactly the kind of young work - brash, committed, and narratively unpredictable - that film festivals are supposed to champion." - Steve Macfarlane, Slant
"Beautiful and strange…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." - Jessica Kiang, Variety
A mute little orphan girl with wise knowing eyes wanders into a Zambian village and is declared a witch by frightened locals. She is quickly cast in the dual roles of scapegoat and magic charm in this entrancing tale based in part on African superstition and mythology. Nine-year-old Shula (Mulubwa) is sent to a witch camp, where abandoned older women accused of dabbling in the supernatural are forced to live a sideshow life, on display to tourists and tethered by long streamers meant to keep them from flying away or from changing into goats. In a biting satire on patriarchy, first-time feature director Nyoni blends misogynist folk traditions into a magic realist fantasy filled with humor, haunting imagery, and irony, as the child is dressed and painted in a fanciful costume and exploited by a corrupt official who rents her out to cast spells for cash. In English, Bemba, and Nyanja with English subtitles. DCP digital widescreen. (BS)
The Gospel According to André
2017, Kate Novack, USA, 94 min.
"Entertaining doc about perhaps the greatest, most gigantic (in every way) fashionista who ever lived." - David Noh, Film Journal International
"The most essential fashion documentary since BILL CUNNINGHAM NEW YORK." - Glenn Dunks, The Film Experience
This all-encompassing portrait of André Leon Talley - formidable potentate in the world of style, right-hand-man to Vogue's Anna Wintour, and longtime protégé of the legendary editor Diana Vreeland - details his struggle as a gay black man scaling the heights in the elite and once all-white sub-culture of international fashion. A flamboyant presence and expansive raconteur, Talley, who was raised by his grandmother in Durham, NC, credits her sense of propriety and the high style of Southern black church-goers in their Sunday best as the influences that profoundly shaped his world view. Earning an advanced degree in French literature at Brown, he got his foot in the door in New York by answering phones at Warhol's Interview magazine and volunteering for Vreeland's Costume Institute at the Met. As his eye for style made him indispensable, Talley used his power to advocate for black models and designers, as testified by the film's interviews with Naomi Campbell, Sean "Diddy" Combs, Tom Ford, Diana Ross, Karl Lagerfeld, Whoopi Goldberg, and more. DCP digital. (BS)