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Black Medusa review – deadpan North African vengeance noir

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Here is a stylised and self-aware serial killer drama in black-and-white, damaged down into 9 “nights”. A younger girl referred to as Nada (Nour Hajri) picks up males in bars, enjoying on their protecting gallantry or predatory intuition for weak spot, by pretending to be vocally impaired and needing a voice app on her telephone to talk. She goes dwelling with them after a number of drinks and horror ensues. However Nada finds herself weak in falling for a younger girl at her office, Noura (Rym Hayouni), who herself begins to understand what is going on in Nada’s after-hours existence.

Black Medusa comes from first-time Tunisian film-makers Youssef Chebbi and Ismaël, who might conceivably be followers of Ana Lily Amirpour’s cult monochrome vampire movie A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night. There’s a scene when Nada is strolling considered one of her victims again to his condominium and a few cats wander into view that jogged my memory of Amirpour’s very cat-friendly film. And Nada’s deadpan and implacable avenger would possibly put you in thoughts of Carey Mulligan’s assailant in Promising Young Woman.

The noir temper of menace and emotional deadness in Black Medusa has been very fastidiously contrived and curated. Maybe the final word irony is that it’s Nada who has been turned to stone. I wasn’t certain fairly how far the procedural side of serial-killing takes us on this movie, nonetheless – both as commentary on the macho tradition of north Africa (or anyplace) or as a drama by itself phrases. The strategy is cool, clean, as if the movie doesn’t need to danger investing an excessive amount of in what is going on. And I wasn’t certain how a lot was ready for us on the finish of the backyard path alongside which we’re being led.

There are some very sharp moments, notably one sufferer who begins sharing about how romance died between him and his long-term associate once they determined to get married: “We stopped being in love on our wedding ceremony day.”

Black Medusa is on Mubi from 28 January.

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