LFF Review: Zombi Child

Whilst the debate around streaming versus cinema shows no sign of abating anytime soon, it’s clear that the likes of Netflix have the advantage of numbers. The ability to reach a wide audience is one of the major perks for directors choosing this platform. Bertrand Bonello’s 2016 film Nocturama was bought by the streaming giant and became a huge critical and popular success. His new film Zombi Child, which is being released via MUBI this time around, delves deeper into social issues.

Rescued from the dead, Clairvius (Mackenson Bijou) is forced to labour on a sugar plantation without a mind of his own. Fast forward from 1960s Haiti to modern day Paris where Mélissa (Wislanda Louimat) is the new girl at a liberal boarding school. The Haitian refugee soon befriends Fanny (Louise Labeque), a dreamer, who introduces her into a secret literary sorority.

Zombi Child is a provocative and challenging film which mixes themes of colonialism, privilege and prejudice to create a genre-bending drama. Bonello approaches difficult themes from a multitude of angles, almost challenging the audience to keep up. It’s not easy at times but patience is rewarded with a fresh and vibrant spin on post-colonial relationships. Zombi Child mixes past and present to create and inter-generational supernatural social oddity.  

Zombi Child screens again at London Film Festival on 7 & 10 October.

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