It’s easy to fall on in love either with others or with yourself. But obstacles exist to make that love less easy. This program, obviously getting its name from a Carly Rae Jepsen song, shows how love develops despite of everything.
The short film in this program is Ife. It shows a brief section of the life of the titular character (Uzoamaka Aniunoh). She is a Nigerian woman who invites another woman, Adora (Cindy Amani) over to her apartment with two floors. The date starts out terribly until they realize that they read the same poets.
Ife has a short running time, clocking in at 35 minutes. But Uyaidu Ikpe-Etim’s script is rich enough to reveal the class differences between Ife and Adora. Nonetheless, audiences will wish that this date lasts forever.
Susani Mahadura’s Kelet is the main feature here, clocking in at 58 minutes. And the Paris is Burning references are obvious and necessary. The titular subject, after all, is a Black trans woman. The difference, of course, comes from the fact that Kelet has Somali ancestry and switches between Helsinki and Manchester. Another difference is that it’s an improvement on the iconic predecessor and most trans films before it. Most trans films focus on their subjects’ exterior lives, even when they’re sitting down in their own homes.
This film, however, shows Kelet and her best friend Lola doing each other’s hair. And it depicts that sisterly act with something deeper. It’s as if those scenes signal that the trans self is mutable instead of attaching some finality to it. There’s also narration here. Kelet reveals that she’s only been out for three years. And yet she has to find her place and purpose while living in a transphobic world.
Kelet’s calling is as a model, and she juggles that with finally getting her family’s acceptance. Just like in a few shorts in this festival, there’s a specificity in the way Mahadura approaches Kelet’s universal struggles.
After the fest, Kelet is available in Amazon Prime for Canadian and Finnish subscribers.