Can You See Us? (2023)

Can You See Us? (2023)

Zambia makes its debut on Netflix with this moving drama about a boy with albinism



Chilu Lemba, Fransisca Muchangwe, Kangwa Chileshe
110 min

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Not perfect, but Can You See Us? has more heart than many of the dramas on Netflix.

What it's about

After being disowned by his father, Joseph, a boy with albinism, seeks acceptance from his community and falls in love with music.

The take

As the first Zambian film on Netflix, Can You See Us? is an interesting portrayal of albinism. Inspired by the real-life story of musician John Chiti, the film’s plot feels grounded, even if it’s similar to other stories depicting discrimination. With newcomer Thabo Kaamba at the forefront, her performance of the albino boy Joseph shines brighter than even the older actors of the film’s cast. That being said, it is held back by repetitive dialogue and sped-up character development from certain characters. Despite this, Can You See Us? is still a remarkable film that stands out from the other tearjerkers available on the streaming platform.

What stands out

As the plot is based on the story of a musician, it seems fitting that Can You See Us? has great music. The most tragic scenes in this film have an ethereal score backed by hummed hymns that evoke the grief from Joseph and his mother. The character of Joseph also performs as well, with Thabo Kaamba’s guitar playing, and her older counterpart George Sikazwe’s Ed Sheeran-esque singing. While the depiction of albinism was (rightfully) prioritized in this film, it would have been interesting to delve more into Joseph’s and John Chiti’s music, especially since this element is the one component that remains consistent throughout the whole film.

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