Film Reviews

T Junction

Volume 14, Issue 2 | Published 27/10/2017  

Dear Tanzania Cinephiles, your local film industry needs you:

On June 16, 2017, the 20th edition of the Zanzibar International Film Festival (ZIFF) concluded with an illustrious awards night that saw my film, T-Junction, honoured with the most important award of the night: Best Feature Film. Altogether we bagged three awards, including Best Actress for Hawa Ally, the film's lead actress.

Considering the number of international films screened at the festival and the many delegates and filmmakers that attended, I should be overflowing with joy after such a success.

Filmmaking in Tanzania dates back to the government-funded productions in the 1980s, but the ‘Bongo movies’ phenomenon, as we call our home-grown films, came into its own in the early 2000s. The industry now is second only to Nigeria in terms of the volume of production, with some sources suggesting that there are around 500 films produced locally every year. It's for these reasons I expected to see many more of my fellow citizens at the festival.

I came to film by coincidence. I wanted to be a journalist. As I was getting ready to go to university, I stumbled upon an advertisement for a scholarship for African students at York University in Toronto. I applied, and in due course, I received an email informing me that I had won. What I didn't realise is that instead of journalism, I had blindly chosen film as my major.

Queen of Katwe

Volume 14, Issue 2 | Published 27/10/2017  

Director: Mira Nair
: Mehul Gohil

Before this one, there had been no other chess movie I had seen that properly depicted the sport. Pawn Sacrifice, a take on the Fischer-Spassky match was horrible. Searching for Bobby Fischer was ok but nothing special. The old Luzhin Defence was bizzare…that’s not what chess is like.

But Queen of Katwe was tremendous. It got the chess right. The competitive chesser will be hooked to this one. I could see myself as one of the chessers in this movie. It all felt so real and brought back memories of my junior years.

I think what the director, Mira Nair, did that other chess movie directors didn’t was bringing the camera real close to the characters. They like crowd the screen space. This way, as the audience, you see the chess as if you are inside the movie. I think this may be the secret to portraying the game on the big screen.

The people looked real…like nobody put on make up. No combing of the hair. No ironing the pants. No OMO with powerfoam.

They got a real chess expert to advise on the chess stuff. That much was very very clear. The Director took the chess things very seriously.


Volume 14, Issue 2 | Published 27/10/2017  

Reviewer: Alistair Farrow

The establishment claims the evacuation of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) at Dunkirk was an example of people pulling together in the national interest.

In reality it was a humiliating rout followed by a cynical plot by British generals and politicians to abandon troops and limit damage.

Between 26 May and 4 June 1940 some 186,000 British and 125,000 French soldiers were evacuated from the beaches of Dunkirk in France.

Speaking in the House of Commons, then Tory Prime minister Winston Churchill described the evacuation as ‘a miracle of deliverance, achieved by valour, by perseverance … by unconquerable fidelity … there was a victory inside this deliverance’.

Afterwards Churchill admitted privately he had only expected between 20,000 or 30,000 people to make it back.

He described Dunkirk as ‘the greatest British military defeat for many centuries’.

The propaganda magazine The War Illustrated ran an article about the evacuation. ‘At Dunkirk tragedy was turned into triumph,’ ran the headline.