Stories of Our Lives
Created by the members of a Nairobi-based arts collective — who have removed their names from the film for fear of reprisal — this anthology film that dramatizes true-life stories from Kenya’s oppressed LGBTQ community is both a labour of love and a bold act of militancy.
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★★★★ review by Juan on Letterboxd
I don't think I've ever had the pleasure of watching a vignette film as strong as this. Gorgeous B&W photography, moments of silence that overwhelm with emotional depth, the sense of worry that looms over one at times being washed away by the sheer sweetness of some of the stories being told. It's all so lovely.
If I had to pick a favorite, it'd be Athman, and yet, I can't help but with Duet would have been a feature-length film; similar to Andrew Haigh's Weekend, but different in all too many ways.
★★★★ review by One Room With A View on Letterboxd
Stories Of Our Lives is filmed in stunning black-and-white. It is a well-constructed display of thoughtful editing and eloquent cinematography.
Yet this brave and intimate film is more than just aesthetically arresting. The succinct and simple screenplay is modest but also quietly assertive, impactful and profound, brought to life by gifted actors who perform beautifully throughout.
A standout vignette is ‘Athman’ which documents the story of a man in love with his understanding but bewildered straight best friend. This poetic story epitomises the emotionally rich and genuine nature of Stories Of Our Lives: clever, deeply human and intensely moving.
The NEST Collective has accomplished a near perfect first cinematic foray, despite daunting social and financial circumstances. This well-judged, vivid and triumphantly beautiful film packs unbelievable power into 60 minutes.
Read more: oneroomwithaview.com/2015/03/31/stories-of-our-lives-bfi-flare-2015-review/#ixzz3VxluCrJD
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★★★★★ review by Usernametoolong on Letterboxd
In Kenya, an artists' collective asked LGBTI people stories from their lives, five were turned into short films collated in this feature. All filmed with digital camera in black and white with equipment that had to fit in someone's bag, the result still manages to be amazingly impressive, the image is crisp with a strong contrast between the black and white.
The stories are very touching and show a variety of experiences (though none could be described as happy), and each is given a specific style appropriate to its tone, the last one showing more visual poetry than anything I've seen in a very long time.
There is always a worry when seeing a film like this that it will be worthy rather than good, this was simply amazing.
★★★½ review by ani on Letterboxd
Athman is transcendent. Everything else varies from good to great.
★★★★★ review by Jim on Letterboxd
This is a stong collection of short stories with a singular vision and beautifully projected in black & white. These are stories of glbtq Kenyans, filmed and performed by glbtq Kenyans. The film won a special award at the most recent Berlinale festival.
As I write this there is a massive party outside my place celebrating Pink Saturday here in San Francisco. GLBTQ folk from all over the world, and straight people too, party in celebration of our accomplishments, our community and our new found freedoms so difficultly fought for. In this city, in particular, we have mass acceptance and my partner and I can walk anywhere holding hands, we can kiss in a restaurant, we can gaze into each others eyes in public and no one will question us. This has not always been the case and still isn't in much of America (even though gay couples can now marry in ANY state - thank you Supreme Court).
However, there are still countries in the world where you can be killed, simply for being gay. Kenya isn't one of those countries, but it is difficult to be gay and this movie has been banned in Kenya by the government. It is important for filmmakers from these countries to tell their stories because we still have battles to fight around the world until all people are accepted for who they are and not judged for who they love.
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