Fantasy thriller "Nanny" wins Sundance Film Festival award

Steph Deschamps / January 29, 2022

Nanny, a fantasy thriller centered on an undocumented nanny working for a wealthy New York family, won an award on Friday, January 29 at the Sundance Film Festival. Starring Anna Diop and Michelle Monaghan, director Nikyatu Jusu's debut feature tells the story of Aisha, a Senegalese nanny who leaves her country and young son behind to try to build a new life in the United States.
 
Especially in the United States, we haven't seen enough films that reflect the disproportionate amount of black women and women of color who are the domestic workers running the country, Nikyatu Jusu said during the independent film festival, which again this year was held entirely virtually because of the pandemic. I wanted to focus on women who are usually relegated to the periphery in other women's stories, explained the American director, whose parents are from Sierra Leone.
 
Anna Diop, also known for the TV series Titans, was born in Senegal and moved to the United States as a child. Nanny, which explores the codes of the horror film, African folklore and issues of race and motherhood, has no release date yet.
 
The festival co-founded by actor Robert Redford awarded its documentary prize to The Exiles, in which the documentary filmmaker traces three Chinese dissidents who fled after the Tiananmen crackdown in 1989. 
 
The Audience Award went to the feature film Cha Cha Real Smooth starring Dakota Johnson and Cooper Raiff, who also wrote and directed. The film was purchased by Apple TV+ during the festival for $15 million, the largest deal signed this year at Sundance.
 
Navalny, a documentary about the main Russian political opponent Alexei Navalny, now imprisoned, was also awarded by the audience of the festival, where it had been added in extremis to the program. Its director Daniel Roher stressed that he wanted his film to create a global protest movement on the fate of the opponent. The film, broadcast by CNN and HBO Max, follows Alexei Navalny, as well as his family and associates, during the five months he spent in Germany recovering from a poisoning that nearly killed him in 2020. I want this name to be associated with a grotesque injustice perpetrated by the Russian state against a man who survived a murder attempt and was then arrested for the mere fact that he survived, Daniel Roher launched.
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