Judy Kibinge’s daring yet elegant film is an uplifting parable about atonement, set against the deadly violence that followed the 2007 elections in Kenya.


Contemporary World Cinema

Something Necessary

Judy Kibinge

When Anne (Susan Wanjiru) wakes from a coma in a hospital bed, she finds her husband dead and buried, and her son, Kitur (Benjamin Nyagaka), also in a coma. Her family is one of thousands victimized by the violence that erupted after the 2007 elections in Kenya. Now an unemployed widow, Anne is nonetheless determined to repair The Haven, her ransacked farm, in spite of her family's insistence that she move to a "safer" area.

Burdened with guilt and shame from his past gang activities, young Joseph (Walter Kipchumba Lagat) is eager to start a new chapter in his life and dissociate himself from the thugs who dragged him into the violence. As the government's Commission of Inquiry comes to their town, collecting witnesses' accounts of the violence, neither Anne nor Joseph feel compelled to contribute.

Judy Kibinge's second feature is a daring foray into Kenya's legacy of trauma and brutality. Eschewing the stereotypes of the victim-perpetrator standoff with refreshing naturalism, she revisits this blood-drenched chapter by addressing its true complexity, using her characters to foreground that which has been repeatedly elided in the media coverage, namely dignity, compassion, and fearlessness.

Directed with grace, elegantly filmed, and brimming with convincing performances, Something Necessary is an uplifting parable about the need for forgiveness, atonement and solidarity against the sinister schemes engineered by politicians. This is a remarkable collective achievement from a new, energizing production initiative in Kenya.

Rasha Salti


Thu Sep 05

TIFF Bell Lightbox 5

Thu Sep 05

Scotiabank 13

Fri Sep 06

TIFF Bell Lightbox 4

Sun Sep 15

Scotiabank 9