Mlungu Wam (Good Madam). 2021. South Africa. Directed by Jenna Cato Bass. Written by Bass and Babalwa Baartman. With Chumisa Cosa and Nosipho Mtebe. In English, Xhosa. 92 min.
Jenna Cato Bass’s Good Madam is South African folk horror that echoes the lingering effects of apartheid, reminding us how the sublimation of racism is still with us today. At a turning point in her life, Tsidi decides to take her young daughter and go live with her mother, who works as the caretaker for “Madam” in a wealthy Cape Town neighborhood. Tsidi grew up in this house, and the longer she stays its familiarity leads to warning visions. Her mother, oblivious to these dangerous clues, seems to care more about the household and Madam’s belongings, and it becomes Tsidi’s mission to free her own mother from the Madam’s grip.