Thursday, May 25, 2017

movie review: Queen of Katwe

The Queen of Katwe is a teenage girl, living in the lowest rung of Ugandan slum poverty who against all odds becomes a Woman Candidate Master in chess. The child of a Kampala slum dares never dares dream of being involved in a Hollywood ending, never mind it being her true story. Phiona Mutesi is a real life Disney story and that story deserves telling and is told well.
The Queen of Katwe has few white actors and some 80 Ugandans - mostly kids with no acting experience. Having spent a few weeks in Uganda earlier this year, and with OCC being involved with the Neema Children's Choir, I was looking forward to this movie.
I was not disappointed. We are transported to a slum in Kampala, Uganda: the way words are used, the bustle of Kampalan life, the bleakness of the poor in the slums and the near impossibility to better themselves is all laid out.
Then, into such hopelessness, there are those who give their lives to improve the lives of others. David Oyelowo’s character (he recently played Dr King in Selma) sacrifices his own betterment to improve the children that he teaches chess and other sports to... as does his wife.
Chess is such a fascinating game to play among Ugandan children or any other African child. With little play time at a young age and education done in a rote manner, chess, that uses problem solving and imagination, is more than a game. It teaches about life and how to deal with the knocks and be creative about how to dream beyond the situation. 

It's a film well worth seeing - in fact we will probably show it at OCC as part of raising awareness of life and ministry in East Africa.

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