Modern Griots Review: Pumzi, The Power of Dreams

The best science fiction is the one is based on reality of the times we live in and given the current world crises of famine, water contamination and global warming, Pumzi is definitely an appropriate film.

Written and directed by Wanuri Kahiu, the 20-minute film is about Asha (portrayed by Kudzani Moswela), who lives in an indoor community in East Africa, 35 years after World War III, the “Water War.” The outside world is now dead, no plants and no water. Inside, the community lives on water from their own bodies and everything runs on human-produced electrical energy (they uses exercise machines). Asha is a museum curator who has found a small clump of dirt that is able produce life and wants to go outside to find out if more exists.

Not only is the dirt pushing her to go outside but also her dreams, which she is told to repeatedly suppress. She is also denied access by the Council to go outside. Still she manages to make it outside. Is she successful? That is not the point of the story. The film is reminiscent of two speeches from Martin Luther King, Jr., the “I Have a Dream” speech and the “I Have Been to the Mountaintop” speech. Even if she does not make it, her dream and willingness to try may help those in the future.

Pumzi stresses the importance of dreams because dreams open the door to, or plant a seed for alternative worlds and alternative futures.

To see this film and other great African films, check out Africa First: Volume One.

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