French director Bertrand Bonello and actress Louise Labèque will present the movie Zombi Child (France, 2019) at Fondazione Prada’s Cinema in Milan. The special screening in partnership with MUBI will be introduced by a conversation between the director, the actress and Luigi Alberto Cippini. The film will be screened in its original French version with English subtitles.
Zombi Child will be available in Italy starting from 20 December on MUBI and exclusively at Fondazione Prada’s Cinema on January 18 and February 1, 2020.
Zombi Child is a bracingly original horror exploring the legacy of French colonialism in Haiti. Referring to the title, French auteur Bonello explains, “I liked the fact that we were going back to the deepest origins of a globally known phenomenon; and on a personal level it was important to my original connection with movies, since as a viewer, I came to cinema through this genre. Zombie is the American spelling. Zombi is the original zombi, which is a figure that is profoundly embedded in Haiti’s history and culture. It is the result of an ill-intended use of voodoo, something that people never speak about, and whose existence some deny entirely.”
Bonello restages the Haitian myth of Clairvius Narcisse, an alleged zombi who came back to life in 1962, and tells the story of a Haitian girl who, 55 years later, confesses an old family secret to a group of new friends at the prestigious Légion d’honneur boarding school in Paris. The parallel editing between the French and Haitian dimensions allows Bonello to create a series of contrasts and frictions between the lives of the two main characters —a zombie and a teenager experiencing her first love and heartbreak— that nourishes his film and opens up new and surprising perspectives. As Bonello points out, “when you bring two things together, you end up producing a third, which you aren’t aware of in advance. This is an old principle, inherited from Robert Bresson, which I didn’t just apply at certain moments, but to an entire film.”