Academic Staff and Students of English Language and Culture at PÖFF


Academic staff and students of English language and culture visited Black Nights’ Film Festival (PÖFF) to see the film I Am Not a Witch (UK-France, 2017) by Welsh-Zambian film director Rungano Nyoni. The group of movie fans consisted of both BA and MA students, both Estonian and exchange students currently attending subjects of our curriculum.

The film tells the story of a nine-year-old Shula, who is proclaimed a witch and made to live in a government-arranged travelling camp of “witches”. The film vividly portrays a community trading in local customs and superstitions, as well as stereotypical western narratives of Africa, intertwined with a more universal problematising of the woman’s position through magic realism masterfully spiced with humour. The thin white ribbon, which does not allow the “witch” to fly, is a metaphor of a woman’s situation: in a structured, stratified society, controlled by cynical power, she is not given any freedom or choice. Neither the main character Shula nor Margaret, the amateur actress who embodied her, had ever been to school or held a pen in their hand. Thanks to the campaign initiated by film director Nyoni, Margaret got funding to attend school till the age of eighteen (read more here).

The film fits well with the topics tackled in our curricula, such as postcolonial and feminist studies, ethnic and diaspora culture, diversity of Anglophone cultures, and school education.

More information about the film can be found here. 

Suliko Liiv, Paul Rüsse, Julia Tofantšuk 

English language and culture