An Albino in Tanzania
Director Noaz Deshe’s “White Shadow” is a violent, Tanzania-set story about Alias, a young albino male (Hamisi Bazili). He faces the terrible reality of being an albino in Tanzania, where witch doctors pay good money for limbs and organs of human albinos.
Alias is the prey and the hunters are a group of men who sell albino meat and entrails to witch doctors. In a traumatic early sequence, Alias witnesses the murder of his albino father (Tito D. Ntanga) when a group of men come at night and cut off his limbs so they can sell them. Shot in almost pitch-black darkness, the limited visibility and loud shouting and wailing only give us a sense of horror and dread.
After burying the remains of his father, his mother (Riziki Ally), tells him that he has to leave with a man, Kosmos (James Gayo), who we learn is his uncle. She can’t take care of him alone, and he’s at risk just as his father was. His uncle puts him to work on the heavily trafficked streets of the big city, selling CDs and sunglasses, but Alias is unhappy and finally ends up in a home with other albino children, including Salum (Salum Abdallah), who claims he’s a witch doctor too, though his colleagues keep stealing his clients.
The reappearance of Kosmos, who’s heavily indebted to some local hoodlums who beat him at every occasion, finally puts the hunters back on track for Alias and the film reaches its conclusion.