The Observer (Kampala)

22 November 2012

Uganda: Nairobi Half Life Comes to Kampala

Photo: Capital FM
Nairobi Half Life

Hot-selling Kenyan gangster movie, Nairobi Half Life will tonight make its Ugandan premiere at the National Theatre. The screening is part of the last activities of this year's Amakula Kampala Cinema Caravan festival (AKCCF), better known as Amakula, which ends tomorrow with the awards ceremony.

Directed by debutant David 'Tosh' Gitonga, 99-minute-long Nairobi Half Life has taken the world by storm with its stark portrayal of crime and despair in Nairobi's inner city communities, subsequently becoming one of the most reviewed films of 2012.

The crime drama chronicles the shanty town life in Nairobi, as told through the protagonist Mwas (played by Joseph Wairimu), a naïve village boy who moves to the city with a dream of becoming a successful actor.

Mwas is, however, forced into a life of crime for survival after he is robbed clean, barely a minute after his arrival in the city. Nonetheless, the youngster does not give up on his dream. He takes time off his criminal errands, including carjacking and pimping, to wonder around theatres looking for roles.

Nairobi Half Life's storyline and themes might sound cliché but the execution is extraordinary. The realism and authentic dialogue aside, the savvy manner in which Gitonga theatrically intertwines street hustles with the bigger corruption and unemployment problems sets the movie apart.

The movie also boasts of world-class production. And the hit film's excellence has not gone unnoticed, having so far scooped over five international accolades and over ten nominations within four months after its release.

At the Durban Film festival in South Africa where it debuted, Wairimu opened the gong-winning streak by taking home the highly competitive Best Actor award.Nairobi Half Life is also the first Kenyan movie to be selected for the Oscars, the biggest film awards in the world.

The awards organizers are, however, yet to nominate it for the Best Foreign Language Film award. But movie pundits are certain the gangster film deserves a nomination spot and stands a high chance of scooping the prized statuette.

Impalas

Meanwhile, Amakula's 8th annual Golden Impala awards are on tomorrow, also at the National Theatre. The Impalas, as the awards are fondly known, comprise of only two categories- Best Feature Film and Best Short Film. The awards attract entries from over 14 rift valley countries [the eastern African region].

Uganda heads to the awards with a numerical advantage, having five out of 14 nominations. But the competition is tighter in the feature category where Ugandan hit films - Akataka: That Small Piece and In the Season of Raw Mangoes will face-off five other movies including the formidable Nairobi Half Life.

All the other films in the gong race have already had their screen time at the festival, which has been running since mid August. Amakula felt it best to reserve the trending Kenyan film for last.

Gates open at 6pm for both days and entrance is free. But you will want to arrive much earlier today just so you can get where to sit because Nairobi Half Life is tipped to attract masses. See you there.

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