Made all the more captivating by its cinema verite style, Peter Murimi’s documentary I Am Samuel captures the life of the eponymous Samuel on film, a gay man living in Kenya who faces 14 years in prison if his relationship with his boyfriend Alex were to be reported to the police.
Without spoiling too much of the hour-long film, here are five reasons why you should watch I Am Samuel, which premieres in the UK on Bohemia Euphoria on the 3rd of June.
1) The film tells an epic love story. It is refreshing seeing a love affair blossom between two gay Kenyan men, from on screen kisses to other forms of intimacy. In terms of familial love, it is moving to witness the love of a family in Kenya, who have a deep love for their son and the slow opening of a very tiny crack of acceptance by the end of the film. Superimposed at the end of film is the message “this film is dedicated to queer Africans. May you all live in love and truth with your families.”
2) We witness firsthand the vibrant city of Nairobi, from its lively sports scene (netball training sessions, casual football matches) to the private parties held by Sam and his friends.
3) Like many other Bohemia Euphoria films (e.g. An Impossible Project and Signature Moves), I Am Samuel features more than one language (English and Swahili). It highlights so well and in an unembellished manner the colonial remnants of the British Empire that still exist in Kenya today. Various documentary subjects speak both languages fluently, switching from one to the other with ease.
4) Any documentary by multiple award winning director Peter Murimi is worth the watch. Making documentaries for over 15 years, he brings a refreshing perspective to every topic he addresses.
5) It’s a story about perseverance. Still firm believers in the Judeo-Christian God despite facing hostility and homophobia rooted in Christianity and an extreme level of poverty, both Sam and Alex never fail to show off their incredibly delightful smiles.
The film almost feels like a deep dive into the past of the queer community. Head over to Bohemia Euphoria to secure your ticket for the livestream premiere of I Am Samuel on June 3rd, which will be followed by an interview and Q&A with the film’s director Peter Murimi. Audience members get the chance to ask Peter a question during the Q&A using Bohemia Euphoria’s built in chatbox. We look forward to seeing you.
Secure your tickets here.