Directed by Mira Nair, Queen of Katwe tells the true story of Phiona Mutesi, the Ugandan teenage prodigy who went on to become one of the first titled female chess players in Ugandan history.
Much like the game it is centered around, the film strictly adheres to a familiar structure—that of a sports drama, with the predictable cycle of practice, failure, redoubled effort, and finally, success and glorious triumph.
The things that set Queen of Katwe apart, however, are its sense of place, an expertly crafted clash of the traditional and the cosmopolitan, and, most importantly, the quiet uplifting of a black, female protagonist.
To watch Queen of Katwe is to be immersed in the colors, sounds, and textures of Katwe, an area in the city of Kampala, the capital of Uganda. It is here that viewers find Phiona’s family, living out their lives in their poor corner of the capital, and it is from this most unlikeliest of places that a chess champion, able to see “8 moves ahead,” emerges.
Katwe feels absolutely alive, and for good reason. The film was shot in the slums of the actual Katwe in Uganda, the streets populated with actual locals. Because of this, Queen of Katwe has an incredible feel of authenticity, portraying Uganda not as a place deserving of Western pity, but a place where a different kind of life takes place—a harder kind of life, yes, but a valid life, nonetheless. The people here work; they play, laugh, dance, and cry, just like anyone else.
Nair also does an excellent job of depicting the conflict between the traditional values of Phiona’s mother, Harriet, and the more Western values of the outside world that begin to influence Phiona through the course of the film. Unlike many other directorial works, the movie depicts neither culture as inherently superior to the other, and will challenge viewers’ preconceived notions, such as is seen in the subplot that deals with Kay, Phiona’s older sister, whose obsession with a glamorous “city” lifestyle leads her to trouble when she abandons her mother’s traditional wisdom.
Queen of Katwe is a Disney film, and does what Disney is best at—uplifting the underdog. Black women are one of the most underrepresented groups in terms of film protagonists, so it’s refreshing to see the treatment Phiona receives here. In one of the most smile-inducing quotes of the movie, someone observes, as they watch Phiona play chess, that “such aggressiveness in a girl is a treasure”. It is this wonderful line that separates Queen of Katwe from many of Disney’s other offerings. The celebration of female power is rare, even today, and the story of Phiona, who rose not only from poverty, but from the preconceived notions surrounding her ethnicity and gender, is truly inspiring.
Just as importantly, the film doesn’t shy away from depicting her pain and mistakes. Fiction seems to often take female characters to one extreme or the other—either overly hard or soft. Queen of Katwe reveals not a mere set of fictional characteristics, but the complex humanity in each of its characters.
The acting of the film is solidly done, with Lupita Nyong’o and David Oyelowo standing out in particular. They add to the authenticity of the film, their acting natural and understated, allowing the rest of the child stars to shine through. The role of Phiona is well-played by Madina Nalwanga, whose look of studied concentration and quiet inner reflection create a character we truly believe is a champion chess player.
If you—and your children—want to see a film that depicts a part of the world few of us will ever get to see in such authenticity, and if you want to be inspired by the true story of a girl who rose from the slums of Uganda to become the champion of a game most commonly associated with white, wealthy players, this movie is for you. The individual elements of the film elevate it beyond some of its more glaring clichés, and it is well worth a viewing.
The lights have gone out, and something is moving through the darkness.
At first, it looks as if the darkness itself is shifting, but you soon realize that what moves is darker than dark, and blacker than the night, its tattered edges flowing, moved by a will rather than a wind.
The room grows suddenly cold, and a skein of frost spiders across the windowpanes. Your breath becomes cloud as it hits the frigid air.
The thing moves into a beam of moonlight, and is revealed to be a hovering mass of black hood and cloak and rattling breath.
It is a Dementor, and it’s here for your soul. What do you do?
You raise your wand. Expecto Patronum!
Something blindingly silver-bright—an animal of some sort—bursts from the end of the wand and hurls itself against the Dementor, which flees in terror, its darkness unable to withstand the light before it.
Congratulations. You’ve just summoned your Patronus! And if you’ve taken the Discover Your Patronus quiz, you know exactly what sort of creature you’ve brought forth.
For those Muggles out there, a Patronus is a guardian, and, as Professor Lupin tells Harry Potter, “a kind of positive force, a projection of the very things that the Dementor feeds upon—hope, happiness, the desire to survive—but it cannot feel despair, as real humans can, so the Dementors can’t hurt it.”
It is a great feat for any wizard in the Harry Potter universe to be able to produce a Patronus—it is one of the most difficult spells in existence, and requires not only the magic words, but intense concentration on a single happy memory.
A Patronus can take on myriad forms, depending on the caster’s personality, history, and, most of all, from the beloved memories from which it springs. For example, Harry Potter’s Patronus is a stag, which is the same shape as his father’s. And Severus Snape’s Patronus is a doe—the same as someone with whom he was deeply in love. Many other characters produce Patronuses which are reflections of their essential natures.
But what of yours? Have you taken the quiz yet? If not, go do it!
And what of those of you who have? If you’re like many others, you’re probably a bit puzzled by the results. There have been great rumblings felt across the internet since the debut of the Patronus quiz from people who are none too happy about being a rat or a mole or a west highland terrier. Worse, once the quiz determines your particular creature, that’s it. You can never change it, at least not without going through the process of creating a new Pottermore account.
Some Potterheads, of course, are well-pleased with their results—those owls and stags and dragons and unicorns among us. The allure with these Patronuses is obvious.
But what of the others? What of the aforementioned rats and moles? Are they really so bad?
Of course not! Let’s take a brief look at how you can find the good qualities in even the most mundane Patronus.
The root of this idea is not a new one. It comes from ancient animistic beliefs about the world and of humankind’s connection to it. These beliefs come not solely from Native American spiritualism—a common misconception—but from a huge number of early belief systems, Eastern and Western alike. The idea is simply based on mankind’s universal, complex and symbiotic relationship with the animal world, and the creative ways we interpreted that relationship in our early days.
In our contemporary world, however, this idea has changed. A spirit animal is now an expression of the deep-seated desire to express the self, and to tell others who we are through the things with which we surround ourselves. We claim something because it says something about us, and whether our spirit animal is a stag, a Big Mac, or Samuel L. Jackson, we want it to speak accurately.
And, unfortunately, some readers just aren’t feeling very mole-like.
But just as every animal has its place, mythological or practical, in its relationship to man, every Patronus has its own unique strengths that may not be outwardly apparent. To give you an example of how you can interpret your Pottermore Patronus Quiz result, let’s examine the humble mole.
Despite being sightless, the mole has incredible senses, and like this cute little creature, those of you who are able to produce a mole Patronus are likely to be sensitive to the world around them, able to discern truth from falsehood with a simple touch.
Like the mole, you’re a guide in dark places, able to find the mysteries and dig up the treasures of life where few others would be able to look for them. You’re a creature of great faith, having given away the sight that the rest of the world relies on in lieu of trusting your keen and accurate perceptions. You are, because of this, able to teach others these same skills, balancing out the skepticism taught by other types of people.
Well, that doesn’t sound so bad, does it? When you consider your Patronus in metaphor, as a symbol of a certain set of strengths, you’ll see so much more than a mole. The questions of the quiz are designed to be answered quickly, tapping more into the subconscious than the waking mind, and although it’s not known how much psychology actually went into these questions, the results don’t seem to be too far from the mark. This author, after all, has a russian blue cat for a Patronus—a perfect fit.
So when you get your mole—or rat or terrier or other humble creature—embrace its little, wriggly self. Be not ashamed. It’s just as good as any dragon or unicorn.
Everyone knows unicorns are flighty and dragons, temperamental, anyway.
Time magazine’s upcoming issue will have the San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick on the cover. He is being featured for his ongoing protest of police violence and racial inequality.
The magazine announced Thursday that an image of Kaepernick kneeling during the national anthem will be on the cover of the October 3rd issue, indicating how the NFL star’s protest has permeated national culture. The story, written by Sean Gregory, explores how Kaepernick’s protests have spred across the country. The issue also includes several commentary peices on the protests.
Kaepernick’s protest first drew attention during a preseason game against the Green Bay Packers, during which he refused to stand during the anthem. After the game, the quarterback explained his motivations toSteve Wyche.
“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” he said. “To me, this is bigger than football, and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”
Kaepernick has continued to protest the anthem, and many other athletes have since joined him in calling attention to the injustices faced by black Americans. According to ThinkProgress, 21 athletes in the NFL alone have followed Kaepernick’s lead. Some NBA players have also said they plan to as well.
However, Kaepernick has also faced fierce backlash for his demonstration. ESPN’s Darren Rovell reported this week that in a poll of over 1,000 people, Kaepernick was found to be the most unpopular in the NFL. He’s been receiving death threats for his protests.
“If something like that were to happen, you’ve proved my point,” he said of the threats earlier this week. “It’ll be loud and clear why it happened.”
The image of the cover was first revealed on Time magazine’s twitter account.
— TIME (@TIME) September 22, 2016
Jolie filed for divorce on Monday citing irreconcilable differences. She is currently seeking physical custody of their six kids. Jolie is suggesting Pitt gets visitation rights and she is not going to be looking for spousal support.
Sources from TMZ have been reporting that conflict over the kids, substance abuse, and anger were triggers for the divorce. It has been reported that Angelina’s decision to file has to do with the way Brad was parenting the children in which she disagreed heavily with his methods.
Sources stated that Angelina also became displeased with Brad’s consumption of weed and alcohol was causing a rise in his anger problem which she felt was dangerous for the children to be around.
Angelina’s attorney, Robert Offer, made a statement saying she filed “for the health of the family.”
There is no current reports of a third person being involved.
Jolie and Pitt got together after starring in Mr. and Mrs. Smith. The couple secretly got married in 2014 at their Chateau Miraval in France, and only let a small number of family and friends to be in attendance. The Jolie-Pitt kids— Maddox, Pax, Zahara, Shiloh, and twins Knox and Viviennne— participated in their parents’ wedding.
This is the second marriage for Pitt, who was previously married to Jennifer Aniston. It was the third marriage for Jolie, who also tied the knot with Billy Bob Thornton and Jonny Lee Miller.