Intellectual scum is a Kenyan short film about an African intellect on board a commercial plane who sits next to a white man who bitterly runts about the deplorable state of Africa. It is a film adapted from an acclaimed article by Field Ruwe known as “You Lazy African Intellectual Scum” first published on 18th January 2012. It has been directed by Kevin Njue and the main roles are played by Patrick Oketch (Ruwe) and Jason Corder (Walter). The setting for most of the film is on a commercial plane.
Intellectual scum tells of a story of two men on board a commercial plane from Los Angeles to Boston. There is the white man Walter (Jason Corder) who poses tough statements to the African intellect seated next to him. He asks Ruwe, (Patrick Oketch) why every African individual is to be blamed for the deplorable state of Africa. In this conversation, he boastfully says how he has worked with international organizations like IMF and how they were able to take advantage of the locals.
Walter has his watch stolen and coincidentally on the plane, he sits next to the African who is well groomed and wears an exact if not similar sentimental watch that he got robbed of. He goes repulsed that such a well-dressed man can have the audacity to own a stolen item. This becomes his avenue to open a conversation about his opinion about Africa, where he starts by saying, “It’s amazing how you all sit there and watch yourselves die.”
Watching the 15 minutes short film, I found myself quite agitated by the fact that the African intellect could not defend Africa from the harsh statements that came from Walter. From this perspective, the director has won hearts in keeping the audience emotionally moved by the dialogue between Walter and Ruwe. The movie creates some thought provoking statements, which will make the viewer think about how we view ourselves. Hopefully it will awaken people to rise up and change our countries, and show the west that we can make it without their manipulation and “donor funds”. The punch line ‘we need to do something about it” says it all.
The film befitted from the well-suited soundtracks that have assisted in highlighting some of the emotional and dramatic episodes in the film. The film was successful as it kept the original story of the article and the theme was strong from the beginning to the end of the film. However, there are a few oversights that in my opinion created lapses in the film.
Despite the criticism, I would give the movie a 3 ½ star rating. The film is interesting and succeeds in keeping the viewers glued to the screen for 15 minutes.
Intellectual scum is a film worth watching, as it creates a sense of belief that our solutions will come from this African continent. No one else will solve our problems or pull us out of this quagmire that Africa is in; we are the ones who have to make Africa rise.
Mkamzee Chao Mwatela – Moderator
Patrick Oketch Field – Ruwe
Niki Behr – Flight Attendant
Jason Corder – Walter
Kevin Samuels – Analyst
Bill Jones – Executive producer
Kevin Njue – Executive Producer/ Director
Phoebe Ruguru – Co-Producer
Jim Bishop – Cinematography
Nancy Aluoch – Art Director
Ayanna Gitau – Sound Editor
Ronnie Mugambi – Sound Mixer
Article by Maureen Shelmith.