Cannes 2018: ‘Rafiki’ Debuts With Glowing Praise

The 71st Cannes Film Festival kicked off last night, and today’s programming seems to have some delights for audiences.

One film is winning a lot of praise today. “Rafiki” is a drama from Kenya that tells the story of two women who fall in love in a society that refuses to recognize their relationship. The film is Africa’s sole representative at Cannes, and is also banned in its own country. The Kenya Film Classification Board banned the film for its homosexual scenes, which are illegal in Kenya.

“Rafiki” is based on the short story “Jambala Tree,” which won awards in 2007 when it was first published. This film is presented in Un Certain Regard, and is one of very few films at the festival directed by women. Wanuri Kahiu directs this, her second feature film.

Here are some of the reactions from Cannes attendees:

Like most films, it was not universally loved. Most of the comments against it shared similar criticisms:

All told, it seems to be a successful outing for the up-and-coming filmmaker. Wanuri Kahiu sat down for an interview at the festival, which you can read on their official website.

Be sure to watch the official trailer:

“Rafiki” is seeking distribution.