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Films: Pumzi and Scheherazade Tell Me a Story

Posted on Thursday, 25 November 2010 11:37

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Pumzi ?
Directed by Wanuri Kahiu

Thirty-five years after World War III, the outside world is dead. Asha is a museum curator in a sealed community somewhere in East Africa where water is recycled from urine, humans produce power through exercise and no one speaks. She is sent a soil sample that is not radioactive and plants a seed. When it starts to grow, she defies the authorities and breaks out into the desert-like world to plant the seedling. Kenyan director Wanuri Kahiu packs a host of powerful, thought-provoking images into this short. Shot on a budget of just $35,000 in South Africa, Pumzi, which means ‘breath’ in Kiswahili, won Best Short Film at the Cannes Independent Film Festival this summer.

Clar ni Chonghaile

Scheherazade ?Tell Me a Story?
Directed by Youssry Nasrallah?

Hebba is a glamorous talk-show host who likes peering into the souls of the women of Cairo, making her husband – an ambitious newspaper-man hoping to secure the editorship of Egypt’s national paper – nervous. This stylishly feminist film examines Egyptian society through the prism of the women who work, love and kill within it. Through three ?stories, Nasrallah presents differing stances on female sexuality in a male-dominated world, until the focus turns to Hebba herself. At times overtly political in its criticism of corruption in Egypt, its strength lies in the detailed portraits of the country’s strong-willed women.

Gemma Ware

These reviews were first published in the August-September 2010 edition of The Africa Report.

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