Aisha (Anna Diop), an undocumented Senegalese immigrant, is hired as a nanny by an affluent, self-absorbed Manhattan couple (Michelle Monaghan and Morgan Spector). Recognizing that this may be her best opportunity to bring her son to America, this stranger in a strange land is willing to deflect the upper crust’s micro-aggressions, objectifications, and inept attempts at wokeness. What she’s less equipped to deal with are the predatory mermaids and trickster spirits that have manifested in both her dreams and waking world.
Equally inspired by West African folklore and North American socioeconomics, Nikyatu Jusu’s beguiling psychological drama ensnares you in its uncanny atmosphere, much like a spider might entrap a fly. Jusu’s deftness as a director is complemented by Diop, who evinces Aisha’s fierce survival instincts while also lending her a compelling vulnerability. The film’s ethereal elements are undeniably haunting, but it’s Nanny’s depictions of immigration’s dark realities that chill you to the bone.
U.S. Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic, Sundance 2022
Anna Diop, Michelle Monaghan, Sinqua Walls, Morgan Spector, Rose Decker, Leslie Uggams
In English and Wolof with English subtitles
At SFU Woodward’s
At The Rio
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Writer/Director Nikyatu Jusu’s short film Suicide by Sunlight made its debut at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, garnering a prolific festival run. Nanny is Jusu’s feature film debut and won the Dramatic Grand Jury Prize at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival. Additionally, Nanny was one of 35 projects selected for the 2020 Creative Capital Awards, and shortlisted for The Black List 2020. In addition to filmmaking, Jusu is an Assistant Professor teaching directing and screenwriting.