WWestern countries have been slow to use cinema to confront the modern legacy of colonialism – but perhaps France’s particularly acrimonious decolonization means the ripples are felt more violently in that country’s films than most. . After the invisible threat in Michael Haneke’s Hidden and the sleepwalking grip of Zombi Child in 2019, the French postcolonial film goes as far as total horror in this raw but hard-hitting film. suburbsfilm set which is inspired as much by Candyman as by Moroccan folklore by the fireside.
Nicknamed the “black-white-beur” (black-white-North African) configuration of La Haine, the protagonists are Amélie (Mathilde Lamusse), Bintou (Suzy Bemba) and Morjana (Samarcande Saadi) – three graffiti artists who live in a Parisian domain and meet in a high and abandoned block to smoke materials, dance to trap and tag the walls. After Amélie escapes an attempted rape of her ex, she draws a pentagram in her own blood on the tiles of her bathroom and summons Aisha Kandisha, a demoniac mythological figure of Morocco whose name the trio discovered in the tower.
This croquemitaine, initially seen crouching in full black burqa and headdress with tassels, pursues an exclusively male policy of revenge. But beyond this requirement, she seems a little blind; to the horror of girls, Aisha Kandisha is happy to let off steam on any man around them. The former offline is the first on the chopping block, but her modus operandi is not really clarified by the first two deaths, staged quite abruptly and at random by directors Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury. Nor does the preamble establish misogyny, beyond rape, as a sufficiently daily concern to make Kandisha a true feminist chord.
But, as Bustillo and Maury roam the cities under oppressive skies and on disorienting slopes, the colonialist undercurrents begin to sing. The clues are there: in life, Aisha Kandisha was apparently a Moroccan aristocrat who resisted the Portuguese occupation. And as the aftermath draws closer on white girl Amelie, the surprisingly strong racial resentment in much of the early jokes begins to look like a festering sore we should have noticed. The home stretch – including an exorcism in the apartment lined with an imam’s incantations (interior design goals!) – is brutally effective. At this time, Aisha Kandisha is an imposing succubus; postcolonial theory trampling on a pair of terrifying goat hooves.