September 23, 2021

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In the heart of TIFF horror ‘Good Madam’ lies Xena on ‘Exorcism’

3 min read

South African filmmaker Jenna Kato Bass probably doesn’t seem to have an obvious choice to direct a horror movie. For most of his life, the 35-year-old Helmer was away from fear. “I was really sensitive as a child,” she says Diversity. Even the scene of a character being shot was too horrible for him to endure. “Horror was out of the question.”

When Bus was twenty years old, he began to dive into the genre. (“I’m still too scared to watch the original movie, so I read the scripts.”) From ancient curses or mysterious creatures: there is nothing that was “real or ingrained in our world”.

This question will eventually lead to “Malungu Wam” (“Good Madam”), a psychological thriller that has its world premiere at the Toronto Film Festival. Located on the outskirts of Cape Town, this follows a disturbing incident that occurs when a single parent (Chumisa Kosa) returns with her estranged mother (according to Nosifo), a resident housekeeper passionately cares for whites in bed “Madam” who has been with her for 30 years. Appointed.

Bass says he was inspired to make a film about the “daily horrors” experienced by millions of South Africans every day: death, sickness, poverty and chronic inequality in a society still associated with a legacy of racism for nearly 30 years. From the beginning of the black-majority regime.

“What would horror feel like if it happened to people who actually feel it on a daily basis?” He says. “If you recall the basic things we expect, such as horror is escapism, and horror is a kind of visceral, virulent thrill … [in everyday life]? ”

“Good Madam” introduces Mavis, a housemaid, whose days are tedious slogs of maintaining, sweeping, dressing, folding, and maintaining the large and well-appointed family of her elderly white employer. Buss wanted to center the film on a domestic worker, “this person who is so inseparable and is in our home and running our lives,” a kind of tribute to the South African personality who historically “moved into our story”. ”

This decision enabled him to highlight the confusion of the place of black workers in society in general and South Africa in particular. “Everyone in this country has somehow got an emotional connection with the domestic worker,” she says. “And [there’s] Also, the domestic worker is the ultimate symbol of racist politics …

For the bus, horror seemed like an obvious process to explore that dynamic. “It’s literally a ghost,” he says. “We wanted the movie to be like an expulsion, [to say]: ‘That’s how the past haunts us, and the film is going to somehow get that injury out.’

“Good Madam” is a production of Fox Fire Films, Sanusi Chronicles and Causeway Films. It was co-produced by Christina Sitton (“The Babaduk,” “The Nightingale”) and Samantha Jennings (“Cargo”) and produced by Bubblewa Bartman. Bass and Bartmann wrote the script in a joint process that included the cast, which included Komvalethu Jonas Razia, Sanda Shandu and Khaniso Kenka in addition to Kosa and Matebe. Visit Films is managing global sales.

The fourth feature of the bus is not its first in using and destroying the genre twist in serving socially directed commentary. His second feature, the body-swap satirical thriller “High Fantasy” was a low-fi exploration of the chaotic complexities of race, class and gender identity in modern South Africa. With “Flatland” opening the panorama strand of the Berlin Film Festival in 2011 F, he re-imagined the West with the story of being trapped in a situation and thrown together by fate who embarked on a cross-country journey of self-discovery.

Collectively his films reflect the voice of a young South African filmmaker who struggles with the complexities and conflicts of a country still hoping to survive for its billing as a “Rainbow Nation”.

“That’s why I keep making these low-budget pictures,” he says. “I just think a film isn’t going to make any difference. So I keep making them. And at some point, there will be some work that can make an impact together.

“Everyone is contributing a little more to the conversation and – before the healing starts – acknowledges the injury, because it is itself something that is not really allowed,” he continued. “When it comes to acknowledging pain, there is a kind of healing. You’re dropping it and it’s going to sound like the first time. ”

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