Call Me Kuchu (NR)

Documentary 87 June 21, 2013
By Ernest Hardy
Equally gut-wrenching and inspiring, the documentary Call Me Kuchu beams right from Uganda, the global hypocenter in the ongoing and intensifying struggle over LGBT rights. Directed by Katherine Fairfax Wright and Malika Zouhali-Worrall, the film-- from its opening moments-- jumps right into the fray of Uganda's media and government-sanctioned homophobia, outlining its outsider roots (leftover colonial laws from Britain; rightwing American evangelicals stoking the flames of bigotry) while making clear the Ugandan complicity in and responsibility for the anti-gay bigotry that has swept the country. What makes Kuchu work as taut agitprop, and ultimately to devastating emotional effect, is that Wright and Zouhali-Worrall allow the enormity of the film’s political concerns to be telegraphed through the stories, experiences and astute analysis of ordinary queer folk and their hetero allies. Young lesbian Stosh stoically faces the camera to tell of the family friend who raped her when she was a girl in order to show her "what [she's] meant to do with [her] body," and of the resulting pregnancy that ended in tragedy—with more grim consequences of the assault to come. When she dabs at her eyes at the end of her recounting, it's a heartbreaking moment. Knowing in advance that gay rights activist David Kato, the film's charismatic anchor and moral center, is eventually murdered does nothing to diminish the devastating impact of the crime's portrayal here. The grief of the mourners at his funeral is almost overwhelming.
Katherine Fairfax Wright, Malika Zouhali-Worrall David Kato Kisule, Naome Ruzindana, Stosh Mugisha Katherine Fairfax Wright, Malika Zouhali-Worrall Cinedigm


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