LFF Review: I am Samuel

If you’re gay and out in most places in the world you’re likely to face some level of prejudice and/or discrimination on a daily basis. However, whilst it’s all highly unpleasant, unnecessary and out of order, there’s a stark difference between how you’re treated in a ‘progressive’ country and more ‘traditional’ state. According to Amnesty International, homosexuality is illegal in thirty-five African nations. One of those countries is Kenya.

Born and raised on a farm in rural Kenya, Samuel always knew he was different. After moving to the capital, Nairobi, he fell in love with Alex. However, they must live their lives on a knife-edge. It’s a place where homosexual beatings are commonplace and being gay in the East African nation carries a hefty prison sentence. At the same time, his family, including his preacher father, are oblivious and expect him to marry and raise a family. Shot over a period of five-years, I am Samuel follows the young Kenyan as he attempts to navigate this hazardous terrain.

Peter Murimi’s documentary paints an intimate portrait of a loving couple who simply want to be accepted for who they are and be able to get on with their lives. The fact that, in 2020, so many people around the world have to live in fear, simply because of their sexuality, is absolutely disgusting. I am Samuel shines a light on the plight millions of people face every single day. It’s a quiet and thoughtful film which makes its point through observation.

I am Samuel screens at London Film Festival until 13 October.

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