*ONLY AVAILABLE IN THE U.S.*
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 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 chipping away at Kenyan anti-LGBT legislation. Featuring remarkable performances by newcomers Samantha Mugatsia and Sheila Munyiva, Rafiki is a hip tale of first love “reminiscent of the early work of Spike Lee” (Screen Daily) that’s “impossible not to celebrate” (Variety)!
- Short Film
**CERTIFIED FRESH WITH A 93% RATING ON ROTTEN TOMATOES**
**AUDIENCE AWARD WINNER AT NEWFEST AND QUEER PALM NOMINEE AT THE CANNES FILM FESTIVAL**
Winner – Audience Award – Best Narrative Feature – NewFest
Winner – Jury Award for Best Feature – OUTShine Film Festival
Official Selection – Cannes Film Festival
Official Selection – Toronto Int’l. Film Festival
Official Selection – Chicago Int’l. Film Festival
Official Selection – Mill Valley Film Festival
Official Selection – AFI Fest
Official Selection – Palm Springs Int’l Film Festival
Official Selection – NewFest
Official Selection – Outfest Fusion —
A love story for the time – Ben Kenigsberg, The New York Times
[A]t home, where homosexuality remains a criminal offense, 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… – Guy Lodge, Variety
Rafiki presents a radiant, vivacious portrait of young love that owes as much to Romeo and Juliet as Bend It Like Beckham and Moonlight. Although Kahiu is sharply critical of the hypocrisies of Kenyan culture, she is just as attuned to the sweetness of romance at its most instinctive, tender and fragile. For its formal simplicity and directness, Rafiki is a small revelation, not least because it marks the breakthrough of a filmmaker of such exhilarating, cheerfully courageous vision. –Ann Hornaday, The Washington Post
A burst of unfiltered teenage energy. Lively and full of vision! [Kahiu] has a wonderful eye for detail and lyricism. – Emily Yoshida, Vulture
Rafiki’s slotting of two African women into this familiar romantic structure represents a radical and important upending of contemporary Kenyan sexual mores. – Pat Brown, Slant Magazine
It’s undoubtedly a shame that the film’s home country wasn’t initially willing to acknowledge the beauty of Rafiki’s depictions of lesbian love and countless other real-life same-sex relationships. Kahiu s film reinforces that being who you are and loving in spite of the opinions of others is still a revolutionary act. So cheers to the Kenyan viewers, who now have the opportunity to see Rafiki for what it is colorful, warm and real. Rating: 5/5. –Joi Childs, Shadow and Act
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