Saturday, February 1, 2020
Softie (2020) Sundance 2020
"To topple the government"
-Boniface “Softie” Mwangi's daughter asking where he was going one afternoon
The exchange above maybe one of my most favorites I've ever heard. I loved how Softie's young daughter (she had to be around 5 or 6) was genuinely in awe. And I loved how she followed her dad out the door like it was something she could help with. She, like her dad and her mom is a fighter.
SOFTIE is a portrait of former news photographer Boniface “Softie” Mwangi who grew tired of the violence and bullshit happening with the Kenyan government and decided to try and run an completely honest political campaign in a country said to be one of the most corrupt in the world.
A bracing look at the situation in Kenya shows us the true hard road to true freedom and democracy that is being traveled by the people of Kenya. The film shows us how the problems and corruption of today was set in place by the tribalism created by the British. They needed to control the population so they deepened the tribal divides to the point you can get killed for not being the right tribe. Director Sam Soko gives us a clear idea how that is in operation today.
Through it all Soko keeps Softie at the center. We see him years before he begins his run and we follow his journey up today. We see the cost the film has on both himself and his family who are forced to leave the country for America because things became too dangerous.
Kudos to director Soko for never losing sight of Softie's family. While this is Softie's film, the reason he is trying to fight the good fight is his family and we get a sense of what this all means to them and what it is costing them.
SOFTIE is a very good film. It highlights not only the situation in Kenya, but also the dangers to a country, say the US, where people are intentionally divided into us and them. It also makes clear why people must never stop fighting for their rights.