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Meditative, Optimistic Documentary on Queer Love in Kenya

Filmed over five years, this documentary, directed by Peter Murimi, opens on a striking note that contrasts intimacy with cruelty. A date between Sam, the film’s subject, and his boyfriend Alex is juxtaposed with the brutal footage of a violent attack on one of Murimi’s own friends. Witnessing the tender connection between the couple in a society where people in such relationships can undergo physical harm as well as legal punishment affirms the courageous, moving joy of queer love and the bravery of the men who participate in the documentary. The fact that Murimi doesn’t sensationalise acts of discrimination only emphasises how painfully commonplace violence is in Kenya, but also suggests how queer solidarity and support are a crucial part of that same reality. The film is perhaps over compact, but its ending is heartwarmingly optimistic.  I Am Samuel is digital platforms from 3 June.