Running time 1h 23min | Directed by Wanuri Kahiu | Kenya | Drama
Bursting with the colorful street style & music of Nairobi’s vibrant youth culture, Rafiki is a tender love story between two young women in a country that still criminalizes homosexuality. Kena and Ziki have long been told that “good Kenyan girls become good Kenyan wives” — but they both yearn for something more. Despite the political rivalry between their families, the girls encourage each other to pursue their dreams in a conservative society. When love blossoms between them, Kena and Ziki must choose between happiness and safety.
Initially banned in Kenya for its positive portrayal of queer romance, Rafiki won a landmark supreme court case, helping to chip away at Kenyan anti-LGBT legislation. Featuring remarkable performances by newcomers Samantha Mugatsia and Sheila Munyiva, RAFIKI is a tale of first love “reminiscent of the early work of Spike Lee” (Screen Daily) that’s “impossible not to celebrate” (Variety). (c) Film Movement
In English and Swahili with English subtitles
The film is sharp at rendering the hesitancy of [the girls’] flirtation, as well as the forces – parental expectations, religion, an ever-watchful gossip – arrayed against them..
Ben Kenigsberg | New York Times | Full review
Rafiki has been slapped with a ban for its positive representation — a state of affairs that makes this lively, brightly performed film impossible not to celebrate….For [director Wanuri] Kahiu, this sophomore feature should secure enough exposure to enable further, more ambitious vehicles for her direct, Afropop-infused style.
Guy Lodge | Variety | Rating 4.5/5.0 | Full review