Sunday, September 11, 2016

TIFF 2016: Queen of Katwe

Queen of Katwe is based on the true story of Phiona (Madina Nalwanga), a young girl from the slums of Kampala, Uganda, who discovers she is very good at chess, and uses her talent to help her rise up from the difficult circumstances of her life. Lupita N'yongo plays her widowed mother, straining to maintain her dignity as her hard life turns more desperate, and David Olewoyo plays her coach, who teaches her that chess is a metaphor for life, and that you must never tip your king too soon  (i.e. give up it all when things look dark). In many ways this is a very familiar story of an underdog winning out, but it all worked for me, and I had tears in my eyes by the end. The action moves along well, the acting is excellent, and the harsh, dusty setting of the slums of Kampala are dressed with the vivid colours of the costumes.

I loved the end credits, in which each of the main actors is presented together with the real-life character they portrayed in the film. I was disappointed that there was no Q&A after the film, as it would have been nice to be able to salute some of the actors.

TIFF 2016 Overview

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