The biggest Cannes film today (Wednesday, 5.9) is Wanuri Kahiu‘s Rafiki, a Kenyan-made lesbian love story that’s been locally banned by Kenya’s conservative-minded government. It will screen at 1:45 pm and again at 10:15 pm at the Salle Debussy. I would normally be catching the earlier screening, but there’s a conflict and a complication with the great Martin Scorsese, who came to town yesterday.
Scorsese, currently in post with his $180 million Netflix gangster flick The Irishman, will sit for a discussion at the Theatre Croisette this afternoon (4:30 pm) following a Director’s Fortnight 2:30 pm screening of Mean Streets. I’d prefer to catch the 82-minute long Rafiki at 1:45 pm and then slip into the Scorsese q & a, but I’m afraid the security goons won’t let me in. I might have to attend Mean Streets in order to catch the Scorsese sitdown (which I regard as essential) without incident, and then catch Rafiki at 10:15 pm. Not the end of the world.
Rafiki is the first-ever Kenyan feature to screen at Cannes.
Here’s a 5.8.18 Variety interview with Kahui in which she talks about the Kenyan blockage and says “it’s time we had fun.”
Here’s a 4.29 CNN story, written by Munachim Amah, about the Kenyan banning. Kenya’s Film and Classification Board (KFCB) said last month that Rafiki had been banned because of intent to “promote lesbianism” in the country. Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta has claimed that homosexuality is not an issue of human rights, but rather of “our own base as a culture.”