The Letter

Film Info

Film Year: 2019

Film Duration: 83 min

Country: Kenya

Language: English, Swahili


Maia Lekow & Christopher King

Film Category

Best Feature Documentary


Filmed with a gentle pace and incredible closeness, The Letter is an intimate family portrait that ascends into a dramatic climax of shakespearean proportions. Karisa’s city-life is interrupted when his Grandma back home is called a witch. Returning to his rural village to investigate, he finds a frenzied mixture of consumerism and Christianity is turning hundreds of families against their elders, branding them as witches as a means to steal their ancestral land. As Karisa balances delicately between his disputing aunties and uncles, the love for his Grandmother and her fearless spirit must overcome the imminent danger of the accusations against her. With an original score composed by director Maia Lekow, the inevitable universal theme of how land is divided when an elder dies, is entangled by the chaotic mixture of traditions of the past with the newly imposed influence of western religions. The understated power of women and resilience of family and community shines above all else, despite the growing threat of greed and inter-generational alienation.