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There is only one way to watch Supa Modo – with a box of tissues and some extra hugs.
Directed by Likarion Wainaina, who makes a cameo appearance in the film, Supa Modo digs deep and finds hope in the saddest place, opening us up to a beautiful, tender world where superheroes, too, can die. But not before uplifting our spirits and tugging at our heartstrings with the touching story of Jo (played by young newcomer Stycie Waweru), a terminally ill nine-year-old girl whose greatest wish is to become a superhero who can fly.
It’s a big dream – impossible in the real world and one that will require a miracle to achieve. That miracle comes in the form of Jo’s strong-headed big sister Mwix (Nyawara Ndambia), who defies her overprotective mother (Maryanne Nungo, Rush) and convinces the whole community to help her give Jo the memories she deserves.
This plan works, in the funniest and most imaginative way, as we see Jo’s superpowers come in handy to stop all sorts of make-believe crimes in her village – eventually culminating in her own superhero movie, where she gets to experience the superpower she desires the most: she is finally able to fly.
Watching Jo embrace her superpowers, her colourful outfit becomes more than just a costume; it’s an inspiration to those who believe in her dream. Even in gloomy moments when her mother seems to have resigned herself to what is to come, Jo radiates hope – if not with her smile, then with her lively spirit, which gives the film its heart.
Released in February 2018, Supa Modo is the sixth feature film to be helmed by German One Fine Day films and Kenyan Ginger Ink, a collaboration that has produced gems like Mbithi Masya’s Kati Kati, Tosh Gitonga’s Nairobi Half Life and Judy Kibinge’s Something Necessary.
A festival favourite, the film has since bagged a series of accolades, including Best Indigenous Language Movie/TV Series in Swahili at the Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards 2018, Best New Director at Cape Town International Film Market and Festival 2018, the Artistic Bravery Prize at Durban International Film Festival 2018 and Best Screenplay at Carthage Film Festival, just to name a few.
Supa Modo also beat Rafiki (Wanuri Kahiu) to become Kenya’s submission at the 91st Academy Awards in the Foreign Language category, becoming One Fine Day-Ginger Ink’s third attempt to the Oscars after Nairobi’s Half Life’s bid in 2012 followed by Kati Kati’s in 2017.
To add to its successful performance at global awards, Supa Modo comes highly recommended by critics – certified 100% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. Little White Lies describes it, “A love letter to the power of escapism, a devastating portrayal of grief and a Kenyan family drama that defies stereotypes, Supa Modo serves as an important reminder that even when heroes die, they can continue to inspire others long after they’re gone.”
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