A high society wedding, a boxing club, a beauty salon, a school for survivors of the civil war: these are a few of the many places in Uganda discovered in Kimi Takesue's feature documentary, WHERE ARE YOU TAKING ME.
Employing an observational style, this contemplative documentary reveals multifaceted portraits of Ugandans in both public and private spaces. The film travels through Uganda, roaming the vibrant streets of Kampala and the rural quiet of the North, to reveal a diverse society where global popular culture finds expression alongside enduring Ugandan traditions. Throughout the journey, WHERE ARE YOU TAKING ME asks us to consider the complex interplay between the observer and the observed, and challenges our notions of both the familiar and exotic. WHERE ARE YOU TAKING ME offers unexpected images of a complex country, encouraging us to abandon pre-conceived notions of where we are going and what we will find.
"Kimi Takesue’s WHERE ARE YOU TAKING ME? is a cinematic trip to Uganda that explores both the viewed and the viewer. ...She visits a beauty salon, a women’s weight-lifting tournament, a room with three workers at sewing machines and a rural school, among other sites. Though the lengthy shots become more varied, even noisy, the audience is still invited to experience beyond the passive act of looking. Some scenes appear as artfully composed as a painting (and some reminiscent of famed painters). But these are found moments, and they have movement and character as well as poetry. ...The film is an unusual, visually rich visit to the nation." —David DeWitt, The New York Times
World Premiere, 2010 Rotterdam Film Festival
2010 Los Angeles Film Festival
2011 Documentary Fortnight, Museum of Modern Art
2011 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival
2010 Milano African, Latino & Asian Film Festival, Italy
2010 Amakula Film Festival, Uganda
"Grade: A! Marvelous! The film doesn't dispense with the horrors of the wars, it just mitigates the pain by finding in the people, the countryside, a revivifying beauty. The movie is both a representation of and a testament to healing.... Takesue is encouraging audiences to take a deep, long look at things they might otherwise miss. [The] Uganda of this film is almost brazenly photogenic, and no more so than with the faces of the people themselves. Takesue has a wonderful eye for human portraiture, and for landscape portraiture, that is arresting without being static. She captures, as she intended, the lyricism of the everyday." —Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor
"CRITIC'S PICK. For the first several minutes of director Kimi Takesue's documentary, viewers may well be asking the question in the film's title. Delivered sans voice-over or any establishing context, Takesue's film drops the audience into an elliptical journey through layers of life in modern Uganda: a high-society wedding (whose groom looks like he's attending a funeral); a female weight-lifting competition; a break-dance battle that's stolen by a young child. Once you're acclimated to the unforced pace, the wonderfully composed images (some quite painterly) wash over you. It's only near the end that any reference to the country's bloody history arises, and you realize you've been watching a poetic corrective to lingering stereotypes." —Ernest Hardy, LA Weekly
"Stellar...Takesue's documentary took the explosive subject of former Ugandan child soldiers in an unexpected direction; instead of choosing the usual routes of investigative journalism or bombastic commentary, the film keeps its distance from the traumatized youngsters and observes them with detached empathy as they readjust to 'normalcy'." —Richard Porton, Cineaste
"Beautifully meditative ... an enriching experience." —Jay Weissberg, Variety
"a precisely observed, gracefully contemplative, and gently self-reflective portrait of contemporary Uganda" —Educational Media Reviews Online