The fourth film from the fruitful collaboration between One Fine Day Films and Ginger Ink premiered yesterday at the Junction. The premiere kicked off at 6.30pm and was attended by the whos who in the Kenyan film industry. Renowned Director and the brains behind One Fine Day Films, Tom Tykwer, also graced the event. There were however, a few hiccups with the organization of the event with some confusion at ticketing and a late start.
Veve is slang for what is known as khat or miraa. Written by Natasha Likimani and Directed by Simon Mukali, the film is a political thriller set in the middle of the flourishing and often dangerous miraa trade. Amos (Lowry Odhiambo), is an MP that also dabbles in the lucrative miraa trade in his constituency. He faces challenges such as dissatisfaction from the farmers that supply him with veve and stiff competition from his arch rival, Wadu (Abubakar Mire). Esther (Lizz Njagah), Amos’ wife, supports him until she begins to realize he’s no angel. Her loyalty is further questioned when Kenzo (Emo Rugene), walks into her life.
The opening sequence of the film is excellent as it portrays the high level sanctioning of the miraa trade to the point that police at road blocks know not to stop trucks ferrying it. The setting is refreshingly authentic. The cinematography shows off the beautiful Maua landscape and there are several scenes in kimeru. The miraa trade process from planting to harvesting to selling is explored and portrayed in a believable way.
The actors put on a good performance. The star of the film however, is easily Conrad Makeni who plays Sam, Amos’ loyal henchman. Abubakar Mire (Wadu), Joseph Peter Mwambia (Mzee) and Lizz Njagah (Esther) also light up the screen with their performances. A surprise wonderful performance is given by Delvin Mudigi (of Sauti Sol) who plays Julius, a thug and friend to Kenzo. Delvin’s scenes offers comic relief to an otherwise seriously themed film.
There are a few misses in the film that mostly have to do with character development. It is commendable that the script attempts to delve into various characters’ lives reminiscent of the film ‘Crash’. However, there simply isn’t enough film to adequately tell these stories. The pacing is also off and the story arc suffers for it. There aren’t enough solid set-ups hence the resolution seems contrived. It would have worked if they had reduced on the sub plots and characters.
Despite these few misses, the film is a worthwhile watch. The cinematography is gorgeous, the story bold, the action scenes are good and for a bonus, it has a steamy and satisfying sex scene between Kenzo and Esther.
The film opens at the Junction cinema on September 5th. Buy a ticket and support Kenyan film. Watch the trailer here.