Okayafrica’s Top Films of 2014

Stories of Our Lives (dir. Jim Chuchu, Kenya)


What started off as an archive of testimonies from Kenya’s LGBT community gathered by Nairobi-based art collective The NEST grew into a project so compelling that the association decided to make the leap to the big screen. With a shoestring budget, a small video camera, a shotgun mic, two LED lights and a portable digital recorder, this vignette of five stories was a surprise selection at the Toronto International Film Festival, where it wowed audiences and critics alike. These sixty minutes in black and white, sustained by a poetic and intimate soundtrack, offer real stories in both rural and urban settings where love, sex, refusal, betrayal, hopes, and dreams map the multifaceted human geography of anxieties and feelings among young people in present-day Kenya. A unique experiment that gives visibility of a prosecuted and penalized community, the film proceeds with a sharp and inspiring symphony of turning points in the lives of men and women faced with a society full of prejudices and narrow-mindedness. United by their lack of a moral or any conclusive ending, these dramatizations propose ways of understanding and respecting others in a world where gender and sexuality do not outweigh our shared humanity.- Beatriz Leal Riesco

>>>Listen: Stories Of Our Lives: Music From & Inspired By The Film