Lusala – Movie Review

Director: Mugambi Nthiga

Cast: Brian Ogola, Stycie Waweru

The Nairobi Film Festival is back!  Following the previous success of the past 2 years which has given local filmmakers and creatives alike a chance to showcase their talents in the art of filmmaking, the festival returns for its third year with the same aim of revitalizing the cinema-going culture in the Nairobi as a critical means of contributing to the growth of a healthy film industry in Kenya.

In order to get the ball rolling this year, Lusala – A featured film directed by Mugambi Nthiga tells the story of a young boy named Lusala who flees from his abusive father and is taken under the care of his Father’s relatives. Years later and now a young man, he is asked to leave the protective care provided by his affluent family and stand on his own two feet. Like a fish out of water, Lusala is excited by the prospect of being out on his own. But once the initial excitement of leaving home subsides, Lusala realizes that he must deal with the demons from his past alone.

This film is produced by One Fine Day Films, whose record up to this point has been exceptional. With films like Nairobi Half Life, Katikati and most recently Supa Modo, the company has consistently selected projects that are successful. It’s another Home Run with this film.

Lusala is a solid installment in the string of films produced by One Fine Day Films. This is also a good start for Mugambi Nthiga, with this being his directorial debut. The film succeeds in creating a unique drama, filled with the twists and turns associated with the genre that ultimately leads to a satisfying climax. The performances of the cast throughout are a major plus in this. You could tell they all really cared about the project and it was apparent in their performances.  The dialogue is also well written. This being a fairly compressed story, the film’s runtime is also a plus. The script is where I did have a slight issue. The premise is a tad bit rushed and the film has problems with pacing during the second act.

The film’s climax is one of the high points in this. As Lusala comes to the realization that his past is a block towards him moving forward, this causes him to make a last-ditch attempt in resolving the problem. The last 20 minutes of the film deals with him taking a decisive stand on the matter. Even though the decisions Lusala makes are terminal, they do not seem out of place or unwarranted given the good build-up to this moment.

Check out Lusala when you can as well as other films during this year’s Nairobi Film Festival which runs from 6th to 16th of June at Prestige Cinema, Ngong Road

Get your tickets here: Nairobi Film Festival

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