“Albinos don’t die, they just disappear.”
Director Noaz Deshe’s debut feature film, White Shadow, is about the plight of an albino boy, Alias, played by newcomer, Hamisi Bazili, living in Tanzania, whose father (Tito D. Ntanga) is hacked to death by locals for his meat and organs which are believed to hold special powers. It is powerful in it’s realism. The film very well could have been told through a documentary format but in doing so it would have lost its power of persuasion. The film is premiering at the Sundance Film Festival.
After Alias’s albino father is murdered in the dark of night, his mother (Riziki Ally) sends the young boy off to live with her brother, Kosmos (James Gayo), Alias’s uncle, in the city believing that this will protect the young man. Unfortunately he faces as many risks stemming from superstitions involving albinos in the city as he did in the country. His life in the city initially involves the mundane, selling basically junk items like CDs and sunglasses for his bully uncle. The plot involving his burgeoning relationship with his uncle’s daughter, Antoinette, is especially touching.