DRAMA , HORROR / FRANCE / 2019 / 101 MINS / R18+
Bertrand Bonello (AF FFF15, Saint Laurent; AF FFF12, House of Tolerance) returns with Zombi Child, a thrilling experiment that merges elements of horror with France’s complex colonial relationship with Haiti. Debuting in the Directors’ Fortnight selection at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival, Zombi Child consolidates Bonello’s reputation as one of the most important filmmakers working in Europe today.
Two stories are knotted together across two countries in two different time periods, beginning with a character based on the real-life figure of Clairvius Narcisse (Mackenson Bijou). In the early ‘60s, he is zombified through a voudou ritual, which obliterates his identity and makes him easily exploitable as slave labour in the sugarcane fields.
Leaping ahead to the present day, we meet Mélissa (Wislanda Louimat), a Haitian student at an expensive French boarding school whose cultural background becomes a source of fascination to her friends, especially Fanny (Louise Labèque) who exploits Mélissa’s heritage with shocking results.
Experimenting with codes and conventions of horror cinema, Bonello plays with expectations about what a zombie film is and the result is far more intellectual than gory. Zombi Child is an exploration of political history unlike any other and sits atop the most innovative and provocative horror films made in recent years.
French, Haitian and English with English subtitles.
“With its unconventional narrative structure, Zombi Child takes us a journey that’s as intellectually demanding as it is compelling.”– Screen Daily
“The film has taken us to places that we rarely visit in cinema (and certainly never in legit zombie movies).”– Screen Daily
“Bertrand Bonello’s latest is ’contemporary French cinema at its most conceptually ambitious’”– Screen Daily
DIRECTED BY: Bertrand Bonello
STARRING: Louise Labèque, Wislanda Louimat, Adilé David, Ninon François, Mackenson Bijou