Swahili with English subtitles, 2013, 115 minutes, color, Italy/Germany/Tanzania
Alias is a young boy growing up in the central African bush. An albino, he is the subject of taunting and also vulnerable to a terrible danger: the belief among witch doctors and people of the region that the bodies of albinos offer magical powers. As a result of this belief, many albinos are murdered or mutilated for the prize of a charmed body part.
Bent on saving Alias from this ghastly fate, his mother entrusts him to her brother, Kosmos, who runs a number of small businesses in the city. Although nominally free from danger, Alias enters a new vortex. He’s forced to sell small items to drivers in congested traffic zones and denied human warmth by his tyrannical uncle.
Director Noaz Deshe draws a raw, emotionally shattering performance from Hamisi Bazili as Alias and powerfully renders his character’s world of interlocking hells. Through precise, expressionistic visual and aural atmospheres that heighten the theme of darkness in the film, the audience is witness to a boy’s plight and how he fights his way to justice and transcendence.
Director: Noaz Deshe
Screenwriters: Noaz Deshe, James Masson
Producers: Ginevra Elkann, Francesco Melzi d’Eril
Executive Producers: Ryan Gosling, Stefano Gallini-Durante
Co-producers: Alexander Wadouh, Matthias Luthardt, Babak Jalali
Cinematographers: Armin Dierolf, Noaz Deshe
Editors: Noaz Deshe, Xavier Box, Robin Hill, Nico Leunen
Production Designer: Smith Kimaro
Principal Cast: Hamisi Bazili, James Gayo, Glory Mbayuwayu, Salum Abdallah