By Lupita Franco Peimbert
Boniface Mwangi is a charismatic man who grew up poor in Kenya. His parents called him “Softie,” but later they found out he was everything but that. He went from successful photojournalist for CNN, to activist and to political candidate in a Kenya full of corruption and violence.
In this highly acclaimed documentary at the Sundance Film Festival in 2020, and at other renowned film festivals, director Sam Soko follows Softie and shows the willpower of those who believe in their vision of change. Soko does a great job guiding the viewer throughout the harsh realities in countries like Kenya where those who dare to confront the government get punished and killed.
The film also shows how the masses perceive voting not as a right or a responsibility, but as something that can be bought or negotiated for a few coins. And how ignorance hurts and misdirects people.
“It hurts to be poor, man. You are thought to become timid and avoid trouble as your default setting,” says Boniface at some point in the film.
His wife Njeri Mwangi is as resilient as it gets. Her role in this drama is bigger than acknowledged. His campaign manager is strong and strategic as any candidate would dream of.
This story may remind you of legendary figures everywhere in the world where one doesn’t know how the hero will end, and if his cause will prevail, and how his loved ones survive an often unsustainable burden.
This documentary brings a great opportunity for those who love to say they love multiculturalism, as it presents the people and culture of Kenya in regards to relevant and timely issues such as voting, and the difference between truth and lie.
“Softie,” the documentary about Boniface Mwangi is coming to virtual cinemas nationwide beginning this Friday, January 29, 2020. The following 25 cities and cinemas are part of this nationwide premiere across the United States:
BRITISH COLUMBIA: Vancouver, Canada.
CALIFORNIA: Berkeley, El Cerrito, Long Beach, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sebastopol, Tahoe City.
MISSOURI: St. Louis.
NORTH CAROLINA: Asheville.
NEW HAMPSHIRE: Bethlehem.
NEW JERSEY: Montclair.
NEW MEXICO: Albuquerque, Santa Fe.
NEW YORK: Bedford, Brooklyn, Ithaca, Newburgh.
NOVA SCOTIA: Halifax, Canada.
PENNSYLVANIA: Bryn Mawr.
WASHINGTON: Port Townsend.
For more details on participating theaters, please go here: http://icarusfilms.com/other/playdate#softie
SOFTIE was produced by LBx Africa in association with We Are Not The Machine, EyeSteelFilm and ICARUS FILMS. The documentary is shown on PBS.
The film won the Special Jury Award for Editing at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. It runs 96 minutes and has some violent images.
Here is the trailer.