Written and directed by Bertrand Bonello (“Nocturama,” “House of Tolerance”), “Zombi Child” definitely feels like the kind of movie whose creators might defend its existence by noting that “the film is thoroughly and precisely documented” (as Bonello does in the movie’s press notes). So while Fanny’s online keyword-searches for information on “voodoo possession” and priestess-like “mambos” may not be typical, but they are presented in a refreshingly matter-of-fact way. After all, “Zombi Child” is a multi-generational cautionary tale that’s focused on Haitian voodoo and the way that its seen with a mix of fascination and skepticism by a new generation of young Frenchwomen, including Mélissa (Wislanda Louimat), a Haitian schoolgirl whose family’s ties to voodoo culture are somewhat explained throughout the movie, but never fully demystified. Are stories or events that don’t fit these narratives any less authentic? The Daily — May 20, 2019. Show Map. By using our site, you agree to our use of cookies. Opening in 1962 Haiti, the horror-fantasy follows the real-life story of Clairvius Narcisse (Mackenson Bijou), who falls dead on the street but is soon turned into a “zombi” when he is dug up from his grave and forced to work on … As involving and genuinely exciting as much of Bonello’s frank teen drama may be, it only says so much about who gets to write history, and what their motives are. Haiti, 1962: a man (Mackenson Bijou) is brought back from the … Starring Louise Labeque, Wislanda Louimat, Mackenson Bijou. It’s been less than two years since Zombi Child but, if you’re like us, any wait for new Bertrand Bonello’s always just a bit too long. The latest from French master Bertrand Bonello (Saint Laurent, Nocturama), ZOMBI CHILD is an “audacious and cunning” (Little White Lies) new take on classic horror tropes that “poses timely and provocative questions” while “taking us on a journey that’s as intellectually demanding as it is compelling.” (Screen Daily). Haiti, 1962: a man (Mackenson Bijou) is brought back from the dead only to be sent to the living hell of the sugarcane fields. Directed by Bertrand Bonello • 2019 • France. What scares Bonello, as Zombi Child makes abundantly clear, is lack of control, of being held accountable for the sins of other people. svg-skull. Originating from Haitian folklore in the early 19th century, the Creole word “zombi” referred to the trancelike state of starved plantation workers kept alive against their will. At first, the two plotlines of ZOMBI CHILD resemble different worlds, the first a dramatization of the (allegedly) true story of Clairvius Narcisse, a man who died and rose again without feeling or memory in Haiti in 1962, the second a teen drama set at a girls’ boarding school in today’s Paris, where Fanny is still obsessed by Pablo, her holiday fling. See more in our Cookies Policy. The enormity of colonization, the way its … There were zombie movies before George Romero came along and shook the genre up in 1968 with Night of the Living Dead and at first Zombi Child looks like it’s harking back to an older tradition of zombie movie, like 1932’s White Zombie or 1943’s I Walked with a Zombie.Night of the Living Dead and at first Zombi Child looks like it’s harking back This interview with director Bertrand Bonello was recorded in 2020. Zombi Child Critics Consensus. svg-play Play svg-play Trailer. Fifty-five years later in Paris, at a prestigious all-girls boarding school, Melissa (Wislanda Louimat), a young Haitian teenager, confesses an old family secret to a group of new friends—never imagining that this strange tale will convince a heartbroken classmate to do the unthinkable. The new French voodoo/gothic drama “Zombi Child” is mostly satisfying, but also a little frustrating because of its creators’ walking-on-shells sensitivity. Bertrand Bonello on Zombi Child first published by VODzilla.co, from an interview conducted while he was at the BFI London Film Festival 2019. In Paris, 55 years later, at a prestigious all-girls boarding school, Melissa, a young Haitian teenager, confesses an old family secret to a group of new friends, never imagining that this strange tale will convince a heartbroken classmate to do the unthinkable. Iconoclastic auteur Bertrand Bonello blends voodoo, postcolonial tensions, and the spirit of Jacques Tourneur and Val Lewton to create a shivery, hypnotic excursion into heady horror. ... Until the end, Bonello mostly suppresses traditional horror elements while favoring a more intriguing slow burn approach. Haiti, 1962. But it’s hard to tell how these two narrative threads are related until later on in the movie. In Paris, 55 years later, at the prestigious Légion d’honneur boarding school, a Haitian girl confesses an old family secret to a group of new friends—with unthinkable consequences. Mélissa’s aunt, Katy (Katiana Milfort), is a “mambo,” or voodoo priestess, … Displaying the same audaciousness he did in Saint Laurent and Nocturama, Bonello shifts seamlessly between eras, weaving a spellbinding vision of the ways in which colonialism’s legacy continues to haunt the present. Directed by Bertrand Bonello • 2019 • France Many scenes in “Zombi Child” end without much dramatic fanfare; some scenes end right after some narratively inconsequential detail is used to paint a fuller picture of Fanny and Mélissa’s boarding school-life. He lets their contradictory and sometimes fickle behavior speak for them, as when Fanny’s friends (all white) try to decide if Mélissa is “cool” or “weird” before they wonder aloud if a boy is genuinely attractive or only “fake sexy.” Soon after that, they all sing a French rap song with lyrics like "I hate cops ‘cause cops hate what we are,” "only my crew knows who I am,” and "this ain't love, I just want your ass.” Bonello’s young heroines are, in that sense, allowed to be young without being condemned too harshly for it. ‘Zombi Child’, from director Bertrand Bonello (Nocturama, Saint Laurent) injects history and politics into an unconventional cross-genre film. Around the World: January 2020. As its title suggests, “Zombi Child” finds Bonello taking that idea to its logical and most… Review by Paul Elliott ★★★½ The outlandish visuals from director Bertrand Bonello in this compelling and interesting movie transitions between the grotesque and the cerebral, and stabilise's on a territory on the edge of horror. Folding history onto itself more explicitly than any of Bonello's previous films, Zombi Child peels back centuries of racist stereotypes to rescue Voodoo from the stuff of black magic and portray it instead as a kind of communion a communion between spirits, a communion between generations, and a communion between the dislocated joints of an empire. Going back and forth from Haiti in the 60s, 80s and Paris today, Bertrand Bonello explores different generations, cultures and beliefs in a beautiful way, capturing roots from every corner. January 24, 2020. Thankfully, following Bonello’s disjointed story is never boring thanks to his and his collaborator’s knack for dramatizing the romantic, but callow aspects of Fanny and Mélissa’s angsty teenage lives. This … Then again, Bonello’s general preference for keeping several key plot points ambiguous is ultimately what makes “Zombi Child” a good, but not great story about counter-culture, as it’s experienced by members of a dominant culture. Much of “Zombi Child” isn’t even directly about Mélissa or her heritage; instead, Bonello usually treats her as the subject of unsettling fascination for Fanny (Louise Labéque), a lovesick and very fair teenager who’s also obsessed with the memory of her boyfriend Pablo (Sayyid El Alami). Definitely satisfying and it closes the story very well. Hide Map. Not unlike Bonello’s House of Pleasures, which in its final moments made a jarring jump from a brothel in the early 20th century to modern-day Paris and prostitutes working a city street, Zombi Child explores the factors that have allowed a social practice, voodoo, to become a constant of history. Bertrand Bonello. Zombi Child (2019), Sarah Winchester, Ghost Opera (2016), Nocturama (2015) News (15) January 29, 2020. Bonello often resists the temptation to criticize his young protagonists’ too harshly. A man is brought back from the dead to work in the hell of sugar cane plantations. Seeing what he’s done with his true stab at horror, it’s easy to understand why he was worried. svg-skull. Haiti, 1962. Cinéma Moderne. A man is brought back from the dead only to be sent to the living hell of the sugarcane fields. Bertrand Bonello’s. Bertrand Bonello’s Zombi Child, an eerie film about teenagers and the spirit world that will leave some viewers puzzled, opens in Haiti in 1962. Zombi Child. Bertrand Bonello's Zombi Child is inspired by the Hatian story of a man turned into a zombie by witch doctors and premiered at director's fortnight at … Review: 'Zombi Child' Is A Brainy Film Writer-director Bertrand Bonello uses the tale of a Haitian zombie to explore intergenerational racial trauma in this quiet, moody film. In that sense, the slow, semi-naturalistic process by which we learn about Fanny’s intentions—she wants to use voodoo … Bertrand Bonello (French: [bɔnɛlo]; born 11 September 1968) is a French film director, screenwriter, producer and composer. His background is in classical music, and he lives between Paris and Montreal. Bertrand Bonello's hypnotic latest film, set in 1962 Haiti and present-day France, takes on the horrors of colonialism. Starring Louise Labeque, Wislanda Louimat, Mackenson Bijou. Review: 'Zombi Child' is a zombie movie like no other - … By David Hudson. Find trailers, reviews, synopsis, awards and cast information for Zombi Child (2020) - Bertrand Bonello on AllMovie - After her parents died in the earthquake that hit… Smart and provocative with a pop sensibility, Bertrand Bonello’s Zombi Child returns the genre made famous by George A. Romero to its roots as a metaphor for slavery. Simon Abrams is a native New Yorker and freelance film critic whose work has been featured in The New York Times, Vanity Fair, The Village Voice, and elsewhere. Iconoclastic auteur Bertrand Bonello blends voodoo, postcolonial tensions, and the spirit of Jacques Tourneur and Val Lewton to create a shivery, hypnotic excursion into heady horror. “Zombi Child” is, in some ways, an attempt to answer that question with a counter-narrative about an unidentified Haitian man (Mackenson Bijou) who, in 1962, was buried alive by white colonists, and brought back to life as an undead zombi slave. Zombi Child. With Louise Labeque, Wislanda Louimat, Katiana Milfort, Mackenson Bijou. svg-skull. Bertrand Bonello’s Zombi Child. He reaches not for scary things in the dark, but bathetic visions of enslavement lit by candles and the rising sun. svg-skull. Writer/director/producer/composer Bertrand Bonello is best known on these shores for The Pornographer (2001), Tiresia (2003), House of Tolerance (2011) and Nocturama (2016) – films which often deploy a certain icy … Louise Labeque and Wislanda Louimat in Bertrand Bonello’s Zombi Child (2019) C lairvius Narcisse was an actual Haitian man who was still relatively young and by all accounts healthy when, in 1962, when he appeared to drop dead in the street. Bonello allows Zombi Child to gradually swell as he cuts back and forth from Narcisse’s ordeal to Fanny’s “ordeal”: The film opens up like a grim umbrella of dread over time, Bonello… Fanny wants something from Mélissa given her association with voodoo, like when Mélissa recites René Depestre’s Cap’tain Zombi poem during an initiation ceremony for Fanny’s literary sorority. Iconoclastic auteur Bertrand Bonello blends voodoo, postcolonial tensions, and the spirit of Jacques Tourneur and Val Lewton to create a shivery, hypnotic excursion into heady horror. With Zombi Child, Bonello moves beyond his familiar landscapes in France and travels to Haiti where he re-engages the specificity of genre so as to further expand his longstanding interests in the tension between literal and metaphoric space, the unsettled ground on which life and death permeate one another, and the significance of ritual as it is transformed through the new … His work has also been associated with the New French Extremity. Directed by Bertrand Bonello. Zombi Child. Classics and discoveries from around the world, thematically programmed with special features, on a streaming service brought to you by the Criterion Collection. Plot isn’t really the thing in “Zombi Child,” since the movie is explicitly about a disjointed “subterranean history” of events, as Fanny and Mélissa’s 19th century history teacher (Patrick Boucheron) explains during an introductory lecture. Following Zombi Child’s premiere in the Directors’ Fortnight program at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival, Bonello met up at his hotel to discuss the film’s swift production, the political and logistical hurdles to shooting in Haiti, the romanticism of youth, and the utility of genre cinema for conveying political content. svg-skull. 5150 boul. Bertrand Bonello’s Zombi Child is an absorbing, often perplexing story in which traditional Haitian voodoo, a religion based in a healthy respect for death, crosses paths with a French schoolgirl. As Haitian teenager Mélissa (Wislanda Louimat) adjusts to life in a Parisian boarding school, the legacy of her grandfather Clairvus Narcisse’s past haunts her: he was a zombi in Haiti, drugged by slavers and forced to work on a plantation. While the film, with its sequences showing Haitian ceremonies, might strike some as a white French director indulging in exoticism, Bonello takes Haitian history and culture absolutely seriously, and in juxtaposing them with the most exclusively white French experience imaginable (the school is for children and descendants of Légion d’Honneur laureates), Zombi Child poses … Directed by Bertrand Bonello. pin. HBO's Painting with John is a Magnetic Celebration of Arts and Artists, The Nostalgia of Epix's Bridge and Tunnel is Filled with Wrong Turns, The Sister Sacrifices Logic, Tension as Its Twists Unravel, Visions of Friendship: Michael Angelo Covino and Kyle Marvin on The Climb. I like “Zombi Child” for its frank, seductive depiction of clashing cultures, as well as the care and reverence that Bonello brings to the direction and lighting of his movie’s Haiti-set scenes. He was given … Zombi Child is a 2019 French drama film directed by Bertrand Bonello.It is based on the account of the life of a supposed zombified man in Haiti, Clairvius Narcisse.It was screened in the Directors' Fortnight section at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival. 55 years later, a Haitian teenager tells her friends her family secret - not suspecting that it will push one of them to commit the irreparable. The film opens in Haiti in 1962, where Clairvius Narcisse ( Mackenson Bijou ) mysteriously falls ill and dies. Haïti, 1962. We use cookies to give you the best experience possible. A man is brought back from the dead only to be sent to the living hell of the sugarcane fields. This man’s connection with Mélissa is unclear for a while, but there is obviously something between them, just as there’s an undefined, but powerful kind of attraction between Fanny and Mélissa. I just wish there was more to the movie than what’s presented on-screen. Joyous news, thus, to hear he’s at work on a new feature, La Bête (that’s The Beast for those of us who parle Anglais), with Saint Laurent stars Léa Seydoux and Gaspard Ulliel leading, according to Les Inrockuptibles. “Zombi Child” feels like a pre-fab cult movie, or at least Bonello’s attempt at an eccentric genre twist like Claire Denis’ “Trouble Every Day.” But his … 2020 NR French 103min. Zombi Child: original title: Zombi Child: country: France: sales agent: Playtime: year: 2019: genre: fiction: directed by: Bertrand Bonello: film run: 103' release date: FR 12/06/2019: screenplay: Bertrand Bonello: cast: French films at the 2020 Rotterdam International Film Festival. St-Laurent, Montreal, QC, Canada H2T 1R8. EST. Much of “Zombi Child” isn’t even directly about Mélissa or her heritage; instead, Bonello usually treats her as the subject of unsettling fascination for Fanny (Louise Labéque), a lovesick and very fair teenager who’s also obsessed with the memory of her boyfriend Pablo (Sayyid El Alami). Zombi Child is not available at this time. In this monologue, we’re told that the concept of history as a progress narrative is suspect given how exclusive that organizing principle is. ZOMBI CHILD does get a bit slow in the beginning but it kept me on my toes until the 3rd act where everything went bunkers and I loved it! November 28, 2019. “Zombi Child” is obviously not a run-of-the-mill teen drama, but it’s still satisfying for the mix of empathy, fascination, and mild critical distance that Bonello uses to depict Fanny and Mélissa’s otherwise inaccessible world of sisterly bonding and schoolyard daydreaming. With his latest, Zombi Child, which is playing now on Mubi following its London Film Festival screenings, Bonello turns to race. In that sense, the slow, semi-naturalistic process by which we learn about Fanny’s intentions—she wants to use voodoo to get closer to Pablo—says a lot about “Zombi Child.” It’s a horror-drama that draws inspiration from earlier genre touchstones like “White Zombie,” “I Walked With a Zombie,” and “The Serpent and The Rainbow.” It’s also very much about its creators’ self-conscious outsider’s view of the eerie beauty and material reality of voodoo, which is itself still an outsider culture in France and beyond. Un homme est ramené d'entre les morts pour être envoyé de force dans l'enfer des plantations de canne à sucre. But bathetic visions of enslavement lit by candles and the rising sun he ’ s easy to why. Just wish there was more to the movie than what ’ s hard to tell how two. 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