A couple weeks ago, I happened to be walking from work when I glanced at the chalkboard outside the Goethe Institute. The blurry words ‘Lola Film Screening and Forum’ were out of view before I could make sense of them.
In the oneirism that is me walking from work, about 5 minutes after walking past Goethe, something ‘clicked’ within me and I began to backtrack towards the sandwich board sign. Reading and confirming it, I entered in. I was 15 minutes late, but it hadn’t started…Gotta love Kenyan time.
The house lights dimmed, I sat at the back, and there was only one head obstructing me. As the opening credits rolled, I read the words ‘Killer Necklace’ appear and transition off the screen. In case you don’t know about Judy Kibinge’s film ‘Killer Necklace‘ it came about from a comic that appeared in Kwani that was done by Alfred Muchilwa, and was developed for screen by Judy, who wrote the screenplay.
The movie was amazing, this was the director’s cut that they showed as well and I must say I was really impressed. Without giving too much away, the story revolves around a young Kenyan male who’s good intentions are swiftly put through the wire, as he has to sink or swim through the murky and mucky waters of the crime ridden life his relative-by-association.
His relative, a slick-talking playboy, is well-versed with iniquity, and leaves Boo to his conscience and inner demons to decipher an ultimatum. Compelling storyline, coupled with a dynamic script interpreted very well make for excellent viewing. The film I believe, has been sent out to quite a couple film festivals and I’m certain it will command several awards at the very least. I believe Judy Kibinge, the writer/director and her producer Appie are in Burkina Faso for FESPACO, an African Film Festival.
One thing I personally loved about the film is that it was full of relatively new actors, especially in the lead parts. It was, of course, featuring well known faces in cinema and television in supporting roles, but it surely didn’t disappoint in acting.
The cinematography of it was jaw-dropping, the photography, composure and overall aesthetic makes it in my opinion a hallmark in contemporary Kenyan cinema. This film is historical, in my opinion, because it was filmed on a RED Camera. In short, the RED Camera is the pinnacle, the ‘Don-Dada’ of digital film, better than 35mm Film Cameras, yet still digital and with eons of extendibility as far as the camera and what you can do with it. It doesn’t get more captivating, or amazing than on a Red, here are some things you know which were also shot on a RED. And it shows, with some of the most amazing scenes I have ever seen caught on Kenyan camera (would rather you watch it than I explain.)
The movie, selected by MNet for their Mnet New Directions Program, is scheduled to air on Mnet sometime in the near future.
On the whole though, I feel the storyline is captivating and punchy, it transitioned quick and seamlessly between scenes. Dialogue was very well used, with the absence of dialogue put to good effect too. The music set the ambience to scenes well. The translation (because there were subtitles because of the sheng) were done well too. Speaking to Appie after the screening, she informed me that the script went through close to 25 re-writes, which only reiterated to me the screenwriter’s mantra that Writing is rewriting is rewriting…’ But they did a fantastic job and kudos to Judy, Appie and the cast and crew, who were at the screening. It was a real jump in the benchmark to what is ‘Kenyan Cinema.’
I had no qualms worth mention, but this was my first time watching it, and as a screenwriter, there’s what you pick out on the first viewing and there’s what you pick on the second. Bravo to Judy, Appie, Seven and to cinema. All we can say is We want more…