Winner of the US Dramatic Grand Jury Prize at this year’s Sundance, Nanny is a mesmerising and captivating debut feature from Nikyatu Jusu.
Aisha is a Senegalese nanny, working undocumented in New York for a wealthy white family. She looks after her ward Rose, secretly feeding the girl jollof rice when she won’t eat the food her mother leaves for her. Meanwhile, Aisha’s son remains at home in Senegal, as she tirelessly works to raise money for him to join her. As Aisha’s relationship with her employers gains complexity, so too does her connection to home, finding herself haunted by figures from West African folklore like the water spirit Mami Wata and the trickster god Anansi. What are these symbols trying to warn her about – her employers, or something darker lurking within her own life?
With a stunning and distinctive visual style, Jusu weaves together a complex and tense portrait of labour, privilege and motherhood. Nanny is a remarkably accomplished first feature with a layered and compelling performance from Anna Diop at its centre.