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MaryAnn Johanson

“Watu Wote (All Of Us)” also centers a black woman; her story is very different, yet also still deeply moving in its message of compassion and principled refusal to descend into brutality. (Written by Julia Drache and directed by Katja Benrath, this one is also based on recent true events.) Jua (Adelyne Wairimu) must take a long bus trip from Nairobi into the hinterlands, via a route that is frequently targeted by Al-Shabaab terrorists; along the way, their police escort — an unfortunate necessity — falls by the wayside because of mechanical problems, leaving the bus and its passengers very vulnerable. That tension only exacerbates the general strain between Muslims and Christians that has been plaguing the country; Jua, a Christian, has reason not to trust Muslims, and it makes for an unpleasant trip, which includes an uncomfortable overnight stop. This is a beautifully pitched portrait of how mistrust and bigotry diminish us, and the ways in which our expectations of others can be upended in surprising ways that reaffirm our common humanity.

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“Watu Wote (All Of Us)” also centers a black woman; her story is very different, yet also still deeply moving in its message of compassion and principled refusal to descend into brutality. (Written by Julia Drache and directed by Katja Benrath, this one is also based on recent true events.) Jua (Adelyne Wairimu) must take a long bus trip from Nairobi into the hinterlands, via a route that is frequently targeted by Al-Shabaab terrorists; along the way, their police escort — an unfortunate necessity — falls by the wayside because of mechanical problems, leaving the bus and its passengers very vulnerable. That tension only exacerbates the general strain between Muslims and Christians that has been plaguing the country; Jua, a Christian, has reason not to trust Muslims, and it makes for an unpleasant trip, which includes an uncomfortable overnight stop. This is a beautifully pitched portrait of how mistrust and bigotry diminish us, and the ways in which our expectations of others can be upended in surprising ways that reaffirm our common humanity.

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