“Where Are You Taking Me?” is an immersive sensory journey through Uganda that travels through the vibrant streets of Kampala to the rural quiet of Hope North, a refuge and school for survivors of civil war. This lyrical film offers multi-faceted portraits of Ugandans and their country, while interrogating the perspective of a cultural outsider, the touristic gaze, and the challenges that arise in cross-cultural representation.
"An amazing journey...In her impressive documentary feature debut, Kimi Takesue interrogates the outsider's gaze while still offering an expansive wide-angle view of contemporary Uganda."
A high society wedding, a movie set, a beauty salon, a women’s weightlifting competition: these are a few of the many places in Uganda visited in Kimi Takesue’s lyrical feature documentary, “Where Are You Taking Me?” Employing a strikingly visual, observational style, Takesue travels through the vibrant streets of Kampala to the rural quiet of Hope North, a refuge and school for survivors of civil war. The film offers multi-faceted portraits of Ugandans and their country, exploring the complex interplay between the observer and the observed. This cinematic journey interrogates the perspective of a cultural outsider and questions notions of the familiar and the “exotic”. Where are we going... and what will we find?
Structured in a series of stylized observational vignettes, WHERE ARE YOU TAKING ME? explores the rhythms of everyday life in Uganda. By focusing on the commonplace, the film counters stereotypical images of Uganda that emphasize the horrors of war, poverty, and victimization. Moving from one revealing encounter to the next, WHERE ARE YOU TAKING ME? recreates a heightened sensory experience of global travel and explores the challenges that arise in cross-cultural representation. Within the film, the question “where are you taking me?” moves beyond curiosity into a confrontation of the politics and ethics of the documentary contract.
"Beautiful, fascinating… 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 ... an unusual, visually rich visit to the nation."
"Beautifully meditative ... an uplifting observational documentary that plays on seeing and being seen."
"Where Are you Taking Me showcases contemporary Uganda through slices of everyday life, requiring no subtitles for the viewer to connect. Whether these are places or activities such as markets, schools, a videoclub, a church wedding, a youth breakdance demonstration, gym sports, and a women’s weightlifting tournament. These local stories are full of humanity, which makes it more globally appealing. The film takes you on a journey to and from Africa. The stylistic elements of static camera shots in a cinema vérité style and seamlessly flowing images draw in cinephiles, film students, and scholars. The film is an education resource for teaching or learning about contemporary Uganda, bridging urban and rural spaces for a more comprehensive and nuanced understanding of Africa. "
"Wonderfully composed images... A poetic corrective to lingering stereotypes."
10 stars out of 10!
“What does Where Are You Taking Me? have to do with you, Western viewer, as you piece together bits of stories, as you fit them into your own experience? How are filmmakers responsible as they transport and share such stories? And how are viewers responsible to what they see? Beautifully, achingly, Where Are You Taking Me? asks these questions and more.”
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.
"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'."
"A precisely observed, gracefully contemplative, and gently self-reflective portrait of contemporary Uganda."
"An extraordinary postwar Uganda dream flight. Takesue’s askew angles, sealed-off compositions, and embrace of return glances foster the strange beauty, humor, and disorientation so rare in the global glut of hard-drive-dump docs."
"Inspiring depth of purpose in this lyrical film...Takesue traveled alone with a camera to post-civil-war Uganda in 2010, shooting ambling, vivid footage that captured both street rhythms and rural rituals as she moved between urban Kampala and the open spaces of the countryside. There are no subtitles, narration or expert witnesses, only a generous immersive eye."
“Alert to the inherent imbalance in power between the Ugandans being photographed and the filmmaker who traffics in their images, and sensitive to the scarcity in the West of images from Uganda other than those used to support accounts of war, disease and poverty, Takesue decided to film only scenes of everyday life and present them without narration, explanatory texts or subtitles. …I’m grateful she brought me along for the ride, to see everyone and everything in WHERE ARE YOU TAKING ME?”