Opening Film: Vuta N'Kuvute (Tug of War) + Director Intro 2021
Amil Shivji / Tanzania, South Africa, Germany, Qatar / 90 mins / Kiswahili, English / Rating 15 / Scottish Premiere
We are delighted that director Amil Shivji will be present to introduce the film.
A young revolutionary and a runaway bride struggle for forbidden freedoms, in Amil Shivji’s adaptation of Adam Shafi’s Swahili novel Vuta N'Kuvute. In this film set in 1950s Zanzibar, a romance is buffeted by the harsh waves of British rule and the local militant struggle for liberation. On the shores of the centuries-old trade port in the Indian Ocean’s “Spice Islands” — under British colonial control and overseen by the Sultan of Oman — Denge, a young Mswahili revolutionary, fights for a free Zanzibar. In a segregated Stone Town, De (Gudrun Columbus Mwanyika) and his comrades import socialist pamphlets and distribute Swahili translations across the island, staging revolts in dance halls and expat clubs to demand political autonomy. De dreams of nothing else until he meets Yasmin (Ikhlas Gafur Vora), a young Indian-Zanzibari woman. After running away from her arranged marriage, Yasmin is reacquainted with her home through De’s eyes and through her generous friend Mwajuma (played by Zanzibari musician Siti Amina). Together, the three venture across communities that are separated by arbitrary British racial categories but deeply blended by culture. Taking place less than a generation after the close of the East African slave trade, of which Zanzibar was a central hub, this period piece looks ahead to the end of half a century of colonial rule over the archipelago.
About the Director
Amil Shivji was born in Tanzania and is a filmmaker and lecturer at the University of Dar es Salaam. He believes in using images to challenge the powers that be, in particular deconstructing urban facades of development and emphasizing the strength and struggles of marginalised communities. Amil has written, directed, and produced short films that have participated in IFFR and FESPACO, winning the People’s Choice Award in Zanzibar and Best Director in Africa. His feature directorial debut, T-Junction (2017), opened Zanzibar International Film Festival, winning three awards. He has a Master's in Fine Arts from York University in Toronto.