The trailer for the Dominican Republic’s Oscar submission, “Bantú Mama,” has arrived. The drama tells the story of Emma (Clarisse Albrecht), a French woman of African descent who is on the run and trying to elude Dominican authorities after narrowly escaping arrest. “If you help me, I’ll help you,” she’s told by a young girl bargaining for mutual protection and survival in the most dangerous district of Santo Domingo.
Emma is eventually taken in by a group of three children who guide her as their protégée in exchange for acting as a maternal figure to them, causing “her destiny [to] change inexorably,” the film’s synopsis teases.
The trailer shows Emma’s duality as a criminal fugitive driven by a survival imperative and a nurturing mentor to the members of her found family. We see her a caressing a child’s head as the two gaze at the reflection in the mirror. “Powerful. Like a queen,” she tells the girl.
In addition to headlining, Albrecht co-wrote the screenplay of “Bantú Mama” and co-produced the project with director Ivan Herrera.
Albrecht previously appeared in “The Long Song,” a BBC period drama about a woman navigating the trials and tribulations of 19th-century Jamaica in its final days of slavery.
“Bantú Mama” premiered at this year’s SXSW Film Festival. Ava DuVernay’s ARRAY Releasing is bringing it to select theaters and Netflix November 17.