Rafiki 1.0 stars

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Synopsis

Blacksta (Neville Misati) assures his friend Kena (Samantha Mugatsia) that she will make a good wife. But if the manner in which she eyeballs Ziki (Sheila Munyiva) dancing across the street is any indication, heterosexual marriage is the furthest thing from Kena’s mind. Kena and Ziki are the daughters of rival political candidates — and even that isn’t enough to blow fresh life into this exhausted tale of jinxed love. From the giddy highs of first romance to the crashing despair brought by intolerance, there isn’t anything in the picture audiences haven’t experienced dozens, if not hundreds of times in the past. (The film’s one standout is cinematographer Christopher Wessels’ electric-colored lighting design.) Still, the fact that director and co-writer Wanuri Kahiu completed a pro-LGBT film in Kenya, a place governed by anti-gay sex laws, is itself a minor miracle. In the future, may the insurrectionary nature of Kahiu’s vision impact the people of Kenya, as well as the director’s ability to find in her work a fresh vantage point from which to mount a story.

Scott Marks

Length: 1 hour, 22 minutes

Rated: NR

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