Movie review: Call Me Kuchu is a powerful reminder

Call Me Kuchu helps put our own part of the world into perspective.  While the LGBTQ community has seen gains in the West in recent years, new and potentially deadlier battlegrounds are growing in places like Uganda.

As a faction within the Ugandan government attempts to introduce a bill that would make homosexuality punishable by death, a small group of activists rise up.  Leading the charge is that country’s first openly gay man, David Kato.

Documentary filmmakers Katherine Fairfax Wright and Malika Zouhali-Worrall follow Kato and his small group of fellow activists as they take to a Kampala courtroom, fighting a Ugandan newspaper bent on outing members of the local LGBTQ community.  A parallel to the anti-homosexuality bill that would make it compulsory to report homosexuals, Kato’s fight here is a microcosm of the larger implications if the law were to pass.

A scene from the documentary movie Call Me Kuchu screening at the 2012 Vancouver International Film Festival.
A scene from the documentary movie Call Me Kuchu screening at the 2012 Vancouver International Film Festival.

Using the court case as a lightning rod to highlight a community’s struggles against a law which has dire consequences, the filmmakers help paint a relatable picture for Western viewers.  Similarly, the filmmakers use the juxtaposition of footage of Christian fundamentalists railing against what they call the recruitment of youth into the homosexual lifestyle and Kato’s small community simply looking for even the basic of rights.  Bishop Christopher Ssenyonjo of the Church of Uganda finds himself at odds with his Church as he works to minister to the LGBTQ community and is a stark contrast to the American fundamentalists who flame anti-gay sentiment in this foreign country.

Brutally murdered while being filmed for the documentary, the paraphrased words of Thomas Jefferson spoken early in the film brings the saddest of realities to the fight LGBTQ communities continue to fight in some countries around the world: “the tree of freedom is watered by the blood of martyrs”.

Call Me Kuchu is a powerful reminder that while the LGBTQ community has made gains there are still many of our brothers and sisters around the world that are still fighting for even the basic of human rights. A luta continua / the struggle continues!

Call Me Kuchu – Trailer from Call Me Kuchu on Vimeo.

Call Me Kuchu

Malika Zouhali-Worrall & Katherine Fairfax Wright | USA/Uganda | 87 minutes.  Playing as part of the 2012 Vancouver International Film Festival. 

Thu. Sep 27, 9:15 pm, Granville #2
Mon. Oct 1, 2:30 pm, Granville #4
Fri. Oct 5, 12:00 pm, Granville #4

Visit http://www.viff.org for tickets and information.

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