Mlungu Wam (Good Madam) – TIFF21


Mlungu Wam (Good Madam) – TIFF21

An eerie psychological thriller about Tsidi, who is forced to moved in with her estranged mother, a live-in domestic worker caring obsessively for her catatonic white ‘Madam’ in the wealthy Cape Town suburbs. But as Tsidi tries to heal her family, the ‘spectre’ of ‘Madam’ begins to stir.

A woman and her daughter move into the home of her estranged servant mother inΒ . After the death of her grandmother, Tsidi (), and her young daughter Winnie (), move into an extravagant house where Tsidi's estranged mother Mavis () works as a servant for her bedridden Madam Diane (Jennifer Boraine). However, Tsidi is disturbed by Mavis' blind devotion to Diane and she soon becomes to fear that something more sinister is at play.

Mlungu Wam (Good Madam) is a horror film by South African filmmaker Jenna Cato Bass, which uses its genre elements to provide social commentary on post-apartheid South Africa. The protagonist Tsidi is quite bothered by the fact that her mother Mavis seems quite content with a life of servitude for her white Madam in an extravagant Cape Town manor. Tsidi ends up bringing up her concerns to Diane's adopted son Stuart (), but doing so might end up bringing more harm than good.

Mlungu Wam (Good Madam) is a very atmospheric horror film helped greatly by its score with whispering vocals. This is a film that is best going in blind, as the protagonist Tsidi slowly uncovers the truth of this house and its mysterious Madam. However, I will say that the film does provide some biting social commentary about post-apartheid South African and those who are literally cursed into servitude.

Mlungu Wam (Good Madam) is screening as part of the 2021 Toronto International Film Festival

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Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly is a freelance film critic and blogger based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.