Re-Watch: Rafiki (2018)

Rafiki (literally: friend)
Director: Wanuri Kahiu
Writer: Wanuri Kahiu
Based on: Monica Arac de Nyeko‘s short story Jambula Tree
Cast: Samantha Mugatsia, Sheila Munyiva, Neville Misati, Nice Githinji, Muthoni Gathecha, Vitalis Waweru, Jimmy Gathu, Dennis Musyoka
Seen on: 16.6.2019
[Here’s my first review.]

Content Note: (critical treatment of) homomisia

Kena (Samantha Mugatsia) spends most of her time hanging out with her friend Blacksta (Neville Misati) or working in her father’s (Jimmy Gathu) shop. Her father is currently running for a council seat, as is Ziki’s (Sheila Munyiva) father (Dennis Musyoka). But Kena finds Ziki very intriguing and the two women become close very quickly. As love grows between them, they have to face the fact that society around them doesn’t accept homosexuality.

When I watched Rafiki the first time, it was the day after an overnight flight, and I was too tired to really give the film my all, although I did like it. Re-watching it, I could really fall into the film and I loved it even more.

The film poster shwoing Samantha Mugatsia and Sheila Munyiva.

The story Rafiki tells doesn’t give us much that’s new, except for the setting. But that doesn’t matter, because old stories that have been told a lot, have been told a lot for a reason. And when you tell them well, you still get the magic you’d hope for and that’s absolutely the case here.

I was emotionally completely invested in the film and generally so captivated that I was surprised when the film was over, despite already having seen it. I was also disappointed – I could have spent more time with Kena and Ziki (Mugatsia and Munyiva are so good in their roles, it’s wonderful).

Samantha Mugatsia and Sheila Munyiva in the film.

But I didn’t just sink into the story, but the general aesthetics of the film. The soundtrack, the visuals, especially the great use of colors, really impressed themselves on me this time. They create a wonderful atmosphere that you just want to sink into (despite the fact that not everything is wonderful that happens in the film).

In short, it was really lovely to see the film again. It doesn’t happen often that a film gets stronger on re-watching it, but in this case, it certainly was so.

Samantha Mugatsia and Sheila Munyiva in the film.

Summarizing: beautiful.

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