Queen of Katwe
Showtime: April 20, 2017 6:30 pm
Director: Mira Nair
Cast: Madina Nalwanga, David Oyelowo, Lupita Nyong’o
Runtime: 12o minutes
Admission: Members $6 Non-members $9
African-American Film Critics Association (Top Ten Films); Women’s Film Critics Awards (Best Family Film)
17 other nominations
“Directed by the great Mira Nair, the film hits you like a shot in the heart. Nyong’o and Oyelowo are both extraordinary, giving newcomer Nalwanga a chance to shine as Phiona grows into her own woman.”—Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
Queen of Katwe offers an inspirational take on the unlikely real-life glory of Ugandan chess champ Phiona Mutesi. This triumph-of-the-human spirit tale surpasses the pitfalls of this genre with outstanding acting, deft filmmaking choices and the casting of new talent, Madina Nalwanga.
The story begins in 2007, with the film’s quiet heroine Phiona (Nalwanga) selling corn on the streets of capital city Kampala, trying to help her single mother (Lupita Nyong’o) make ends meet for the family. Theirs is a ramshackle existence in the Katwe slums.
As part of a sports outreach program run by a local teacher (David Oyelowo), Phiona takes an interest in chess and soon demonstrates unusual skill, soundly defeating her mocking boyish peers. She proves to be a natural albeit unlikely chess prodigy.
Quickly winning smaller competitions, Phiona and her teacher head to national events and then to global tournaments. Her rise is not smooth, however, as the young prodigy must learn to adapt to major challenges in her path.
Nalwanga exudes charisma and captures the emotions of a reserved teenage girl. Oyelowo exudes kindness but also a disciplining demeanor, teaching his young charge not only about chess strategies but life in general.
Director Nair invigorates the chess-playing scenes with exciting montages, quick edits and close-ups conveying intense concentration. Solid casting and sure-handed direction proves to be a winning formula for Queen of Katwe.
Thank you our sponsors Lovely Body and the Sleeping Giant Folk Music Society