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Ashdoc's Movie Review---Queen Of Katwe

Discussion in 'Theatre, Movies & Cinema' started by ashdoc, Oct 10, 2016.

  1. ashdoc

    ashdoc India
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    Movie Critic SPNer

    Jul 19, 2011
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    In the slums of Katwe in Uganda lives a rather uncommon person who is in contrast to the settings---Phiona Mutesi , a young girl who plays the cerebral game of chess ; and she has been recognised as a master of that sport . But it is the struggle that she has to put up in her personal life while she continues her passion for the game that is more inspiring than just her excellence in the sport . For she has to face innumerable obstacles due to the poverty of her slum , and her struggle to rise above all that to excel in such a cerebral game is nearly astonishing .

    Remember that this is the dark continent of Africa that we are talking about , and Uganda is more famous for producing a cannibal dictator like Idi Amin . For that nation to produce a chess prodigy is something to cheer about , and the horrid conditions in which that prodigy rose up to create a name for herself is worthy of making a film on .

    Phiona's life takes a turn when she is taken under his wing by Robert Katende , who runs a chess class in a ramshackle structure . Other children scoff at the smell that comes from her body because she has not taken a bath , but Katende urges her on and she comes back after bathing for the first time in days . Her talent soon presents itself , and Katende vows to take her with other children to a competition in King's school . He has to raise money to get the children in , for they are slum children coming to a clean place where they are frankly unwelcome . But Katende's efforts pay off and they win the competition .

    The rest of the film shows the teacher and the student struggle to make her success even bigger , and the conditions that they have to put up a fight against are truly heart rending . Phiona and her family are evicted by the owner of their rented house , they have no money to pay hospital bills when Phiona's brother is hurt in an accident , their new home is flooded by water when the rains come , her sister is forced to sell herself to earn money , men are lusting after her mother because their father is dead , and soon men will come after Phiona herself....

    In all this Katende is Phiona's pillar of strength because he has faith in her talent , and she proves him right by outclassing him in the game . He takes her to an international competition in Sudan and she wins it too . Katende asks his teacher wife to help Phiona read and write , and he even gives up on a better job offer to help Phiona . But Phiona grows too confident of herself and does not win at the bigger chess competition in Russia , which is disappointing . But remember that this is true story and not some film fiction .

    In the end Phiona is recognised as master in chess , which is stepping stone to the title of grandmaster . And being so young , one day she might get there too . For her efforts she got a house for herself given by the Ugandan government , and she became a famous figure coming out of that nation . Some of the people I know frankly refused to see the film because they ''didn't want to see a film about black people from some godforsaken part of Africa with only black faces to see'' , which is an indicator of the odds of racism that Phiona must have had to put up to become master of chess .

    Acting is good by all actors , and music and photography is good too . Because the story is real , the drama is less flamboyant than fictional movies . But reality is more inspirational than fiction...

    Verdict---Decent .

    Three stars .
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