Leaving her own son in Senegal was not easy, but Aisha had to leave the country to seek better living conditions. An illegal immigrant in the United States, she finds a seemingly simple job as a nanny for a girl, the daughter of an upper-class white couple in New York. With the aim of raising money and bringing her son closer to her, Aisha faces problems that go beyond the injuries and abuses that immigrants suffer: she begins to be haunted by supernatural beings who are trying to warn her. In a mesmerizing blend of drama and psychological terror, nannywhich recently arrived on Amazon Prime Video, delivers a scathing critique of the “American dream” illusion.
Directed by American Nikyatu Jusu in her directorial debut, the feature won the jury prize at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. In an interview with VEJA, the director said that Aisha’s story was slightly inspired by her own mother. “I was born in America, but my parents are from Sierra Leone. My mom had a great education, she was an artist, but she had to sacrifice her aspirations to take jobs that I always felt were beneath her. One of those jobs was housework,” she explained. Intending to go beyond a conventional drama, Nikyatu decided to incorporate elements of horror and folklore that spoke to its origins in West Africa.
In addition to the visions that Aisha witnesses, the vast majority of them involving water and a kind of mermaid, the problems she faces in everyday life prove to be equally frightening – on some occasions, even worse. The boss, played by the great Michelle Monaghan, often forgets the protagonist’s payments, in addition to not liking it at all when she discovers that the daughter is more attached to the nanny than to the absent mother. “We need to be more attentive to the people around us, have more empathy for the reality of black immigrant women and recognize that the reasons why they left their homes are not frivolous and trivial”, said Anna Diop, actress who gives life to Aisha, in an interview with VEJA.
With a powerful and harshly universal plot, nanny gains strength in the field of horror by portraying a reality that still plagues many immigrants, especially those who come to the United States from African countries. Between the real and the supernatural, the film is also fertile ground for the discussion of topics such as motherhood and abuse of power between different social classes.
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