Kenyan Short "Pumzi" Explores Life After The Water Wars

Illustration for article titled Kenyan Short Pumzi Explores Life After The Water Wars

One of the standout science fiction films at this year's Sundance Festival is Wanuri Kahiu's short Pumzi, set in Kenya of the future, after water wars have decimated humanity. With its African futurist look, this could be another District 9.

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Pumzi was produced by Simon Hansen, who also produced the short film Alive in Joburg that became feature District 9. Kahiu told Wired that the movie was influenced by classic 1950s films and the African "tradition of tapestries and functional art." You can see the trailer for the movie here:

Illustration for article titled Kenyan Short Pumzi Explores Life After The Water Wars
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The movie is about a scientist who discovers a seed that is germinating, and wants to investigate the Earth's surface to see if other plant life is growing again.

Illustration for article titled Kenyan Short Pumzi Explores Life After The Water Wars

She lives in a repressive culture that tries to dismiss her discovery, and refuses to let her do further research. I love how these costumes and sets recall the look and feel of George Lucas' 1970s dystopian flick THX-1138.

Illustration for article titled Kenyan Short Pumzi Explores Life After The Water Wars
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Its wide-open spaces and rich red and brown palate also remind me of Dune, which is of course another movie about what the lack of water does to an entire planet. Unfortunately the movie isn't available online yet - Kahiu says her production company Dada Productions doesn't have access to a good place to host the film. But here's hoping it will wind up online soon, and that we'll get to see a feature from this filmmaker whose flare for the visual is incredible - and whose original storytelling offers us a glimpse of the future as seen through Kenyan eyes.

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DISCUSSION

derekcfpegritz
Derek C. F. Pegritz

This film looks *wonderful,* even though the concept of "water wars" is ridiculous considering that 64% of the planet is covered in water. Regardless, the visual style is wonderful and *very* reminiscent of THX 1138, one of my alltime favourite films, so this is a must-see. Also, I just like the idea of Kenyan sci-fi. It's about time the Third World starts trying to think about the future....