In Films by James Hay - Cinema Editor

On the surface an interesting documentary about remote Maasai warriors forming a local cricket team in Kenya, Warriors quickly proves itself to be much more.

This band of young men have come together from different tribes from all over the Maasai territories to form a cricket team. They play in their traditional Maasai attire. That could be the story right there but, as with everything, there’s more beneath the surface.

We learn that the Maasai are one of the more traditional cultures in Africa and that a part of that culture is the circumcision and marriage of females at a young age, often as early as nine-years-old. The next generation, the warriors, are against Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and arranged marriages, both of which can contribute to HIV/AIDS.

These young Maasai Cricket Warriors, as they call themselves, are smart, articulate and driven by the good aspects of their culture – in which they repeatedly show their pride by donning traditional dress to play the game they love – to make a change in the bad practices, as they see it, and to bring about a new mentality where FGM is eradicated from their community.

The game of cricket really serves as their vehicle; knowing that the attention from the media, both within the cricketing community and the wider world, but, most especially, from their own elders will give them a platform from which to communicate their message. The achievement of sport to transcend international borders and cultural barriers is paramount in Barney Douglas’ intimate film, proving its power as an universal language able to bring people together. In this case, ultimately, allowing the Maasai Cricket Warriors to fly to England to take part in an international cricket tournament at the home of cricket itself, Lords, and amplify the voice of their cause.

Warriors balances its incredibly tough subject matter with a story of aspiration and courage, delivered in a very well formed package, capturing the culture of the Maasai people from both the old and young perspectives as well as the natural grandeur of their land. Despite the serious and challenging message, it’s quite a delightful and heart-warming tale of the inspirational power of the human spirit.