Call Me Kuchu* Review

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This harrowing and brave documentary takes aim at the bigotry that's currently rife in Ugandan society.

When a new bill threatens the freedom and livelihood of homosexuals in Uganda, a small community of activists offer solace to those affected by the government's abhorrent bigotry and aim to bring this wrongdoing to the attention of the world. One key figure is David Kato, Uganda’s first openly gay man. And in a society that persecutes such minorities with appalling violence, his openness is an act of astonishing courage.

If you have any knowledge of Kato’s story, you will surely be aware of the central tragedy in Call Me Kuchu. Kato is murdered for his beliefs, though the film never manipulates his demise for cheap dramatic effect. He is painted as a man who realises that his activism may cost him his life, and as such there is a constant sense of an irrepressible evil lingering in the background.

Call Me Kuchu’s most chilling and engaging moments mostly concern the poisonous and tyrannical influence of religion on politics. Many Ugandan conservatives point to the loss of morality in the west, and suggest that Uganda must restore the religious values instilled during the colonisation of Africa. And yet fascinating behind-the–scenes footage reveals that the west still has an iron grip on religious fear mongering and brain washing in Uganda, with Westboro Baptist Church-like preachers peddling their wickedness to illiterate, naïve and scared locals.

Others espouse an absurd myth about homosexuals that they are socially conditioned beings who, given the right religious treatment, can be 'cured'. And this is, apparently, the 'liberal' religious argument that attempts to disguise their true contempt.

Audiences may feel that the cultural and social zeitgeist is changing, and that religion's perpetuation of such evils are on the decline or have little influence. Call Me Kuchu is a strong shot in the arm which demonstrates that the civil liberties of minorities such as homosexuals are still under threat and in some of the most heinous ways imaginable.

A courageous and heart wrenching story, Call Me Kuchu may not be the most innovative documentary out this year. But it's one of the most essential.

Anticipation

A look into the life and triumphs of one of the bravest civil rights and gay activists.

4

Enjoyment

Life affirming and blood boiling in equal measures, Call Me Kuchu is always eye opening to humanity’s ability for kindness and pure evil.

4

In Retrospect

An essential film in the pursuit of civil liberty and the fight against fascism.

4
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