Posted: May 24, 2015
Jim Chuchu’s “Stories of our Lives”
It’s three days into Toronto’s 25th anniversary programme for the city’s annual LGBT film festival, InsideOut. Yesterday we attended a screening of a visually beautiful black and white film whose several “stories” were deeply moving. Directed by Kenyan film-maker Jim Chuchu (born 1982), working through Nairobi’s NEST Collective of artists, Chuchu’s film is one of the best we’ve seen about the dangers of – and the hope and beauty of – being lesbian or gay. First premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in September of 2014, “Stories of our Lives” has the visceral force of early Spike Lee pictures, yet the complex nuances of the subject matter are handled with tenderness and exceptional grace. “Stories” possesses the profundity of a great poem; the actors know just how much to say or show – and when to hold back. The dialogue is in Kenya’s contemporary hybrid of Swahili and English – which is fascinating in itself.
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