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Film / Pumzi

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Pumzi is a 2009 Kenyan science fiction short film directed by Wanuri Kahiu, starring Kudzani Moswela.

The story is set in a post-apocalyptic world, where water is scarce and humanity must stay underground for it's own survival. The main character Asha, a museum curator, receives a box of soil in which she plants an old seed. The seed germinates, and Asha asks the Maitu Council permission to investigate life outside. The Council denies her, prompting Asha to escape and proceed with the search on her own.

Plans are being made for a feature film.


This film provides examples of:

  • Ascetic Aesthetic: Inside and outside.
  • Bald Women: Nobody, man or woman, seems to let their hair grow out in this future.
  • Bitter Sweet Ending: Asha dies of exhaustion and dehydration trying to revive nature in the Outside. However, the seed she planted sprouts and is implied to have expanded into a forest by the last images of the movie.
  • Climate Change: The apocalypse is a consequence of the Greenhouse Effect.
  • Cultural Rebel: Asha.
  • Determinator: Asha defies the orders of the council, marches under a scorching sun, and sacrifices her water supplies all in the hope that she may find and preserve life.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: Possibly.
  • False Utopia: Peaceful and ecological, but incredibly oppressive.
  • Government Drug Enforcement: The Maitu Council forces it's citizens to take dream suppressants.
  • Hollywood Mirage:
    • Asha spots a beautiful, healthy green tree in the middle of the desert. She approaches only to find a dead stump.
    • Hope Spot
  • Impossibly Cool Clothes: Designed to collect sweat, too.
  • Meaningful Name: Maitu means (mother)seed in the Kikuyu language. The word is derived from Maa and Itu, which translates to "Our Truth".
  • Obstructive Bureaucrats: The Maitu Council.
  • The Evils of Free Will: It's implied that suppressing free will is necessary in order to create a system of total self sufficiency.
  • World of Silence: No one is allowed to dream and presenting new ideas is discouraged. Within minutes of Asha requesting an investigation of the Outside, the authorities come in and sack her museum. A lack of curiosity and spirit is also denoted by the lack of visitors in said museum. The surrounding objects are probably what enticed Asha's free spirit, while the other citizens have not been exposed to elements of the Outside as much.
  • World War III: This version is a water war that took place 35 years before the film.


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