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Wanuri Kahiu (Rafiki)
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Entries in foreign films (492)


Cannes Begins: Iñárritu and His Jury Arrive

by Nathaniel R

The 72nd edition of the world's most famous festival has officially begun. We'll try to bring you comprehensive daily coverage by astral projecting ourselves across the ocean (i.e. watching online videos from France and following critics on Twitter). Earlier today the president of this year's main jury Alejandro González Iñárritu arrived with his gender-balanced fellow jurors in tow (or "classmates," as Maimouna N'Diaye so charmingly put it in the preference conference)... 

Click to read more ...


The Winners of Tribeca 2019

Murtada, Jason and I have all been attending Tribeca screenings (more reviews to come) but as per usual the winners mostly somehow escaped us. But here they are.

The jury members were: Lucy Alibar, Jonathan Ames, Cory Hardrict, Dana Harris, and Jenny Lumet. 

Wendell Pierce as a troubled Louisiana preacher in "Burning Cane" 

FeatureBurning Cane, directed by Phillip Youmans. which the jury calls "searingly original". Director Phillip Youman is just 19 years old and started making this movie two years ago in high school (!!!!!!!!) and also makes history as the first black man to win Tribeca!
Actress: Haley Bennett in Swallow who the jury calls "sensitive and engaging" (Special mention: Geetanjali Thapa in Stray Dolls). Our review here
Actor: – Wendell Pierce in Burning Cane...

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Oscar Rule Changes. It's about time with the Makeup & Hair, Academy

They finally listened! Or, rather...

We are now allowing ourselves to freely fantasize that our annual griping here at TFE for the past forever years that Makeup and Hair deserves as many nominations as any other filmmaking craft, planted the seeds that eventually led to discussions on the other coast. The Academy announced that there will be five nominees going forward in the category starting this next season. (We've already adjusted this year's April Foolish Prediction Chart). Should we go power-mad, loyal readers??

Alas, nope.  The other rule change we've requested for a long time, didn't happen...

Click to read more ...


Interview: Wanuri Kahiu on 'Rafiki,' her inspirations and becoming an activist

by Murtada Elfadl

Rafiki is the second feature film from Kenyan filmmaker Wanuri Kahiu. It made its debut at last year’s Cannes Film Festival in the Un Certain Regard section, to critical acclaim. 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. It tells a sweet hopeful love story between two women Kena (Samantha Mugatsia) and Ziki (Sheila Munyiva), who meet and fall in love as they are waiting to hear the results of their university entrance exams. Set in Nairobi and bursting with the colorful street style and music of the city’s vibrant youth scene, Rafiki is tender, cheerful despite the challenges for acceptance that its characters face from their families and society at large. Accordng to the film's press notes, Rafiki means friend in Swahili, and often when Kenyans of the same sex are in a relationship, they forgo the ability to introduce their partners, lovers, mates, husbands or wives as they would like, and instead call them “rafiki”. 

We recently got a chance to speak with Kahiu about the film, the interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Murtada Elfadl: This film had quite a journey becoming a cause celebre because of the ban in Kenya. Did you anticipate that you’d become an activist...?

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Podcast: Cannes + Oscar + Listener Questions

by Murtada Elfadl & Nathaniel R


With the weekend bringing so few movies to theaters we opted for an all listener questions episode of the podcast. You can listen to the podcast here at the bottom of the post or download from iTunesWe hope you enjoy our answers and provide some of your own in the comments.

So many good questions, thank you. Comment party in 3...2...1... Go! 

Listener Qs: Cannes, Oscar, More


April Foolish Predictions #3: Foreign Language Film

And now we move to (nearly) the silliest category to try to predict a year in advance, Best Foreign Film. Individual countries don't begin announcing which films they're submitting until the summer (and usually wait until the end-of-September deadline) so it's a bit like blindfolding yourself and pointing at a spinning globe. Nevertheless we just like to have predicted the five countries so we have stats later on about how well we did while blindfolded (it's a sickness, this punditry calling).

Previous famous nominees or winners of the Foreign Film Oscar

But mostly we threw up this early chart because we wanted to freshen up the foreign stats & Oscar history portion of that traditional annual page. Take a look won't you? Tell us if you learned anything new! We've been brainstorming behind the scenes at TFE at a way to deep dive into this category's history but we keep hitting the roadblock of films being unavailable (a far worse roadblock in this category than in others) due to... well, you know, the films being from other countries and distribution sometimes not extending much beyond their initial theatrical runs decades ago.