Rafiki was banned by the Kenya Film Classification Board ahead of its Cannes premiere in 2018, yet it was not erotic content that unnerved those in power and triggered censorship. Instead, it was her compassionate handling of the young love between Kena Mwaura and Ziki Okemi.
There is some satisfaction that comes in seeing motifs and symbols established within the first part of the film as they re-emerge in the galvanizing high-wire act performance of the second, though I am unconvinced that the seeding of these symmetries can entirely justify the moribund experience of what has preceded.
While there are many aspects binding Transit to Barbara and Phoenix (including an oppressive system, embodied here by the vagaries of international migration in wartime), Petzold is working in a slightly different register; it is at once more rigorously conceptual and less sociopolitically specific than its predecessors.
In demystifying the process of getting into one of the most prestigious film schools in the world, she exposes the ambivalence about race and class and the overall blindness to conversations surrounding diversity and inclusion that remain at the core of these institutions.