Last Wednesday evening, was a moment I longed for. I looked forward to going to the National Museum for what I will term as time well spent in a bid to get to know more about my country Kenya through films. The last time I was at the National Museum situated along Waiyaki way was in January, attending the film screening of “Small act” under Hilde Back Education Fund which was nominated for the Best Documentary 2011.
I am informed that since its premiere, $750,000 has been donated to the H.B.E.F, allowing them to expand from a village-wide program to nationwide. Joined by two friends Naisula and Jaymo, this time round we were at the National Museum to watch Kimya (Quiet) & The Roadside which are two short, excellently produced films by Willie Owusu (the Director of “Me First”, which received an award at the prestigious International Short Film Festival Oberhausen in Germany).
Being the good time keepers we are (wink) we made it at the Museum, 15 minutes to 7pm. A short networking with those waiting to watch the films, then we finally made it to Dr. Leakey Auditorium.
A short introduction concerning the movies and then lights off! Kimya starts us off. I take my time to understand it. There is so much pain in the film and at one point I couldn’t stop waiting to see the next scene. The narration throughout the movie helped most of us stay focused even as we occasionally threw blank gazes at each other in the dark.
This is a 2 cast film with narration and the whole story centered around torture, stress and oppression that some of our political leaders went through during our 1st and 2nd presidential regime. 20 minutes later, the film was over. Credits running up the screen. Silence engulfed the auditorium. “Mmmm, is the showing over?” I asked Naisula, who looked blank. “I guess so!” She replied with a smile.
I later try to understand the concept and I realize, many of us couldn’t handle much of what was showing. So the shorter the better. Actually , if you ask me, I still feel it could have been shortened even further. The screams, the shouting, the pain, the torture……I think it was a bit prolonged. But the message was on point. This is the pain that people went through. It was mentioned that the film could not have been made, lets say 5 years ago. This immediately reminded me of the documentary on the life of J.M Kariuki. The witnesses make you feel the pain. It makes you sad as a Kenyan to know that this is what some human beings went through in this country.
“Nyayo House, at the basement, this is where it all happened. All these were revealed when the present government came into power. Just like most of you will not believe what you see, family members, relatives and even friends did not and still do not believe this.” Revealed Willy Owusu.
He added that the narrations within the film were pure narrations from one of the torture victims. And this is the reason as to why you should make a point of watching this short film. Then, we watched the second film (ROADSIDE). Before it started, we made fun about what to expect,…”The whole film will be by the roadside, I can bet on this” Said Naisula.
True to her words, yes, this is a love story, a love triangle, typical humorous story which if you ask me, is a reflection of the relationship status in Kenya. The film which Willy tells me was done without any script, is purely entertainment. It revolves among two Kenyan great actors and an actress Lupita Nyongo. The story is about an odd couple who tries to find each other. They decide to go for a in the countryside as we watch the story unfold. *(You need to watch it). Gives you a clear picture of how people fall prey of ” mpango wa kando” at any given opportunity.
“It is so refreshing to see a real film maker, to be able to understand his concept, one who is not brainwashed by soap operas. To be able to understand the sophistication of using fresh thoughts” said one of the audience at the auditorium .
Willy Owusu was quick to let us know of what is in store for this great film maker, “We are doing films in different styles, action, drama detective kind of shooting which should be ready in 2 to 3 months time.” I have personally made it a priority to be attending these film screening at the National Museum of Kenya. It is definitely a great way to unwind after a long day and a chance to get to know more about Kenya, for residents and non-residents as well.
Enjoy your week ahead, remember “Happiness should be key, success is simply the icing on the cake.”