Noaz Deshe, Tanzania/Germany 2013. 1h57m. Swahili with English subtitles. Cert 15.
Not merely an ancient tradition, but a modern-day practice, the underground trade of albino body parts still pervades in Tanzania, ironically a country with one of the highest percentages of albinism in the world. Used primarily by witch doctors, these parts can command prices of up to thousands of dollars, offering a tempting source of revenue for the working-class.
In Noaz Deshe’s White Shadow, Alias, an albino youth on the verge of adolescence, must learn to navigate a world in which he is not just an outsider, but actual prey. For him, survival means more than just securing food and shelter, it means living with constant watchfulness and a degree of protective isolation, even as he yearns for human connection, which he clandestinely cultivates with his cousin, Antoinette, and his young friend (and fellow albino) Salum.
The film’s fractured and uneasy world zigzags between the village and the city, from transcendent flights of fancy to scenes of desperate brutality. But despite the pervasive, often harrowing amorality of this world, it’s one not entirely bereft of hope, allowing Alias to grow into an identity beyond that of a hunted outcast, as a champion for his own destiny.
Tickets £6 / £3.50 concessions
Doors open 7.30pm, show starts 8pm.