Never have I felt so claustrophobic watching a film while hanging on the edge of my seat, much like watching a nightmare while suffocating in bubble wrap. Noaz Deshe's feature length debut White Shadow is a cross between Terrence Malick's Badlands and Guillermo Del Toro's Pan's Labyrinth where scenery and imagery are brought to the forefront and narrative is tossed aside as chaos ensues on screen.
Set in the Tanzanian wild, White Shadow tells the tale of a young albino boy named Alias, who one night witnesses the death of his father. Soon after, his mother sends him to live with his uncle who lets him work as a street vendor of sorts, trying to sell cheap sunglasses and other accessories. A series of events causes Alias to live as a vagabond, and he struggles with life away from his family, trying to find love in the wrong places and struggling to come to terms with being an outsider. Alias is constantly under a microscope as he always has to look over his shoulder in fear of his life. Truthfully, albinos living in Africa are considered lucky charms, so much so that witch doctors pay premium money for limbs, organs and other body parts for their potions.
White Shadow is a hauntingly beautiful look at the state of the Tanzanian nation and the underprivileged children that reside there. It is an eye opener for those that live a more privileged life abroad and what being different can trigger in the money-driven monsters that lurk waiting for their prey to stumble out of the shadows.