Vain, reckless and pleasure seeking ‘Zamora’ goes to Fespaco

Friday January 25 2013


Zamora, a Zanzibari film that examines the conflict between conservative Islam and modernity, African beliefs, and the power of the wealthy, has been nominated for the biennial Pan African Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou (Fespaco) awards set for February 23 to March 2.

“It is wonderful to be shortlisted for a Fespaco award. It means a lot to East Africa to have a film competing in the continental awards,” director Shams Bhanji told The EastAfrican.

The film, which has been nominated in the Best Television Film category, is a poetic evocation of one man’s hidden desires and his quest for true love.

“This film is based on my own life experience and I am glad the script writer [Michiel Van Oosterhout] dramatised it,” said Bhanji, a filmmaker based in Zanzibar and Kampala.

It is the story ofZamora, a vain artist and womaniser on a voyage of self-discovery. His passion for the unknown, a reckless adventurous lifestyle and a sordid past land him in nightmarish situations.

Through three separate emotionally charged relationships (with Zulfa, Saada and Zareena), he becomes a victim of the confrontation between good and evil, rich and poor, love and lust.


In the end, Zamora visits traditional dancers and asks them to save him. Sitting in a cave, Zamora slips into a trance. The powers of Madam Thoko and Saada and her dancers fight over the life of Zamora.

Zamora won the Golden and Silver Dhow at the 2012 Zanzibar International Film Festival awards for Best East African film and was runner-up for Best African film. It will also be screened at the Pan African Film Festival in Los Angeles in February.