Tuesday, March 24, 2015
LGBT Movie Review: Call Me Kuchu
In Uganda, a new bill threatens to make homosexuality punishable by death. David Kato, Uganda s first openly gay man, and retired Anglican Bishop Christopher Senyonjo work against the clock to defeat state-sanctioned homophobia while combatting vicious persecution in their daily lives. But no one is prepared for the brutal murder that shakes their movement to its core and sends shock waves around the world.
In an unmarked office at the end of a dirt track, veteran activist David Kato labors to repeal Uganda s homophobic laws and liberate his fellow lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender men and women, or kuchus. But David s formidable task just became much more difficult. A new Anti-Homosexuality Bill proposes death for HIV-positive gay men, and prison for anyone who fails to turn in a known homosexual. Inspired by American evangelicals who have christened Uganda ground zero in their war on the homosexual agenda, the bill awaits debate in Uganda s Parliament.
While most religious leaders in Uganda support the Bill, one lone voice from the Church is willing to speak out against it: Bishop Christopher Senyonjo, a purple-robed sage who has been expelled from the Anglican Church of Uganda for his theological defense of Uganda s LGBT community. Armed with a PhD in human sexuality and a thorough understanding of Biblical scripture, this octogenarian doggedly continues his work to establish a kuchu counseling center and safe house in Kampala.
Meanwhile, local newspapers have begun outing kuchus with vicious fervor under headlines such as: HOMO TERROR! We Name and Shame Top Gays in the City.
David, Uganda s first openly gay man, is one of the few who dare to publicly protest state-sanctioned homophobia. Working with an idiosyncratic clan of fellow activists, David fights Uganda s government and tabloids in the courts, on television, and at the United Nations. Because, he insists, if we keep on hiding, they will say we re not here.
But one year into filming CALL ME KUCHU and just three weeks after a landmark legal victory, the unthinkable happens: David is brutally murdered in his home. His death sends shock waves around the world, and leaves the Bishop and Kampala s kuchus traumatized and seeking answers for a way forward.
With unprecedented access, CALL ME KUCHU depicts the last year in the life of a courageous, quick-witted and steadfast man whose wisdom and achievements were not fully recognized until after his death, and whose memory has inspired a new generation of human rights advocates.
This is one of the most depressing documentaries that you'll ever see. It's simply heartbreaking. The ignorance, hate, and evil that's rampant in Africa towards LGBT people is shown in such raw detail here. It's explained by many brave LGBT individuals, and shown as each individual take us on this journey through their lives and through Uganda. Their coming out stories and what they've gone through since is inspiring, albeit pretty frightening. To put it plain and simple, this documentary is NOT for the faint of heart. And to put it lightly, this documentary is truly a miracle, a miracle that it was made, and a miracle that we have a lasting document that covers the rarely seen and talked about lives of LGBT Africans that will forever be powerful. This documentary unfortunately may not change Africa---if only it would change the world---but like its advocates, Call Me Kuchu can make a difference, one brave advocate at a time.