Bereft of earthly memories, a new arrival in the afterlife struggles to recover the past, in this poetic fantasy that offers a dark reflection on personal atonement in the shadow of Kenya's violent past.
When Kaleche, a young amnesiac, wakes up in the middle of the wilderness, she has no idea how she got there. She makes her way to Kati Kati, a nearby lodge, where she meets a motley crew of residents under the leadership of Thoma. As Kaleche strikes up a quick and intense friendship with him, she discovers that there's a lot more to Thoma and the mysterious Kati Kati.
A film by Mbithi Masya
Kenya / Germany, 2015, Fiction, 75 minutes, 14A, colour, Swahili / English
starring Nyokabi Gethaiga, Elsaphan Njora
KATI KATI Trailer from One Fine Day Films GmbH on Vimeo.
NOTE OF THE PROGRAMMER
Imagine waking up one day in a barren wasteland. Amnesia leaves you clueless as to your whereabouts, your identity, and how you arrived. A small group of strangers welcomes you to a nearby oasis resort, and they reveal to you the nature of this new reality. You are dead. And this is the afterlife. This is what happens to Kaleche (Nyokabi Gethaiga) in the enigmatic opening sequence of Kati Kati, writer-director Mbithi Masya's poetic first feature film.
Kaleche is a new arrival with no recollection of her life or death. A dozen other young Kenyans are all caught in the same eerie dormant state. They want for nothing; they simply write down whatever their heart desires and it appears at their bedside the next morning.
The group's unofficial leader is Thoma (Elsaphan Njora), who is passionate about helping the dead remember and reconcile with their fragmented pasts. But Kaleche's presence triggers a transformation in Thoma. Their mutual enchantment with each other unearths a sinister secret of his, forcing him to confront his own denial and pain.
Masya is one third of the alternative house-funk trio Just a Band, and his musical background clearly informs the film's lyrical rhythms - to say nothing of the way the script by Masya and co-writer Mugambi Nthiga crescendoes to a climax. With echoes of Wings of Desire and After Life, Kati Kati offers a dark reflection on personal atonement in the shadow of Kenya's past.CAMERON BAILEY (Toronto, TIFF 2016)
Tags: Film, Sub-Saharan Africa, Relationships, Drama, Black + African Diaspora, First Feature, Illness + Death
Language: Swahili, English
Length: 75 minutes
Sarika Hemi Lakhani, Siobhain "Ginger" Wilson, Tom Tykwer, Katja Lebedjewa, Marie Steinmann-Tykwer
Writtten by: Mbithi Masya, Mugambi Nthiga
Andrew "Dru" Mungai
Production Designer: Emmanuel Mrabu
Original Music: Sean Peevers, Ibrahim Sidede, Just A Band
Editor: Louizah Wanjiku
Production: One Fine Day Films, Ginger Ink. Films
Supported by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, Arri Media, Goehde Foundation
2018 | Oscars, USA
* selected (in Septembre 2017) as the Kenyan submission for the Oscar's Best Foreign Language Film award!
2017 | Palm Springs, USA
* Special Mention (New Voices Award)
2017 | CinemAfrica Stockholm, Sweden
2017 | East Africa AMVCA
* Best Movie
2016 | 41st TIFF - Toronto International Film Festival, Canada
* Selection - Discovery programme
* World Premiere* FIPRESCI Discovery Award
for Mbithi Masya (Prize of the International Federation of Film Critics - FIPRESCI- for the Discovery programme
The jury remarked, "With a generous and poetic tone, not without a degree of anger at personal and political injustice, FIPRESCI is pleased to present the prize in the Discovery programme to an exciting and unique new voice in cinema, Mbithi Masya for his debut feature