‘Zombi Child’ Review: Bertrand Bonello Proves that the Past Is Undead — Cannes

‘Zombi Child’ Review: Bertrand Bonello Proves that the Past Is Undead — Cannes
There are any number of horror films about “voodoo” magic and its colonialist underpinnings — Jacques Tourneur’s 1943 “I Walked with a Zombie” remaining the most formative example — but only Bertrand Bonello’s take on the subject includes an oral presentation on the life and times of Rihanna. It would be foolish to expect anything else from the firebrand director behind “House of Pleasures” and “Nocturama,” whose films see history as less of a forward march than an uneasy churn; his work obfuscates clearly delineated temporalities in order to emphasize that while everyone may live in the present the past is never really dead.

As its title suggests, “Zombi Child” finds Bonello taking that idea to its logical and most literal conclusion. Not only does this time-hopping curio riff on the true-ish story of Clairvius Narcisse, a Haitian man who was said to have been turned into the walking dead, it
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