The Watchlist: Black and White Cinema

Today on The Watchlist we bring you black and white cinema.

I used to think black and white movies were beyond boring. My dad was obsessed. As with most things, it took some growing up and slowing down to appreciate the majesty and mastery of these films. Hopefully, you’ll enjoy these movies as you stay warm this weekend.

She’s Gotta Have It

This movie is like a time capsule, suspended in its amber are three distinct – similar, often intertwined but wholly autonomous- entities:  the ‘80s, New York, and Black New York. Nola Darling is an artist, an independent and polyamorous woman. Nola is the ‘she’ who’s gotta have ‘it’. But what exactly is ‘it’? And who exactly is ‘she’?

Nola juggles three boyfriends: Greer, an arrogant model; Jamie, a respectable everyday guy, and Mars, a childlike and childish funny guy. Two of Nola’s friends are also featured: her former roommate who grew tired of sharing bathrooms with a revolving catalog of men, and a lesbian intent on showing Nola the other side of the sexual spectrum.

The men are enamoured and frustrated by Nola’s sexual freedom. On one end, they seek her out, knowing all the while that they are sharing her. On the other end, they refer to her in disparaging terms: “freak,” “nympho,” and “sex addict”. It’s as though they want to reshape her into their preferred/perfect version.

She’s Gotta Have It is a movie in search of Nola’s identity, which Nola also questions after her libido is presented as a fault. It’s a movie that asks who a woman should be, can be and is allowed to be. Is her sexual adventurousness a feature or a blemish?

The vibrant cinematography, gritty New York vibe, and Spike’s solid story enrich the film. It feels compact and complete; not a single frame is wasted or missing.

She’s Gotta Have It was Spike Lee’s first full-length feature film. Made on a shoestring budget -and it shows- this movie is brave in both theme and style.

As a Spike Lee fan, it’s delightful to witness the beginnings of one of cinema’s living icons. I’m also impressed by Spike’s exploration of the mythos surrounding female sexuality and sexual exploration.

This movie is fun, sexy, and black. A must-watch movie for your bucket list. Stream it on Netflix.

Citizen Kane 

Here, on this page, a newspaper company writer picks a movie review to die on.

Critics love it, cinephiles die by it, and filmmakers consider it the holly grail of moviemaking: Citizen Kane, released in 1941, is one of the best movie ever made. It tells the story of a newspaper magnate, Charles Foster Kane, as told by his associates after his death.

Think of Fox News owner Rupert Murdock or the fictional Logan Roy from Succession. These are media billionaires who have the power to shape the future. But how did they come to be who they are. That’s the heart of this movie: what drives people who act like they’ve got nothing to lose?

Citizen Kane starts with the TV announcement of Charles Foster Kane’s lonely death amid the spoils of his extreme wealth. The search for the meaning of his last word, “Rosebud”, is the thread that connects the litany of his life.

You should watch this movie because it is a masterwork. The scriptwriter, Herman J. Mankiewicz’s was a man in full possession of his talent, and with a point to prove.

The storytelling is fluid, and the script is jocular and propulsive. But the real draw for me, the reason I can re-watch it endlessly, is the cinematography and the editing. It really is out of this world. I haven’t seen anything like it, ever, and this movie is 82 years old!



Mank is a movie made in 2020 about Mankiewicz and Hollywood’s golden age, and directed by David Fincher, the man behind Fight Club and Gone Girl.

This movie deftly walks a very thin line by paying homage to a great work of art through inspired creativity without being a copycat production: A testament to David Fincher’s skilfulness.

Mank explores, through many flashbacks, the decisions that defined Herman J. Mankiewicz’s legacy in Hollywood. Although the story is similar to Citizen Kane, the movies explore different themes.

Mank is a story about storytellers. It is an ode to Hollywood and its rich history, and a peek behind the movie-making curtain.

Mank doesn’t open strong, which is a shame considering its a movie about the movies, but when it gets going it really gets going. Its pièce de résistance is its third act, which is about a smooth a landing as ever there can be.

You can watch Mank without watching Citizen Kane, but I advise looking for Citizen Kane first.

Mank is available for streaming on Netflix.


If you looked at your parents as human beings with human needs and wants what would you see?

Roma is a movie that’ll resonate with many Kenyans. Set in the late 1970s in Mexico City’s middle class neighbourhood of Roma Norte, Roma explores director Afonso Cuaron’s early childhood.

A semi-autobiographical testament to the sacrifices women make for their kids. Cuaron’s father leaves the family early in the film and we watch as his mother battles her grief while keeping the family going.

Cleo is a indigenous Mexican woman who is the family’s nanny, house keeper and all round support system. She is up at the crack of dawn to prepare for the day ahead and the last to sleep turning off all the lights in the big house as she heads out to the servant quarters she shares with fellow house help Adela. Cleo has the misfortune of falling for a man who doesn’t respect her because of her standing in society.

The movie follows these women as they discover the world isn’t fair, and navigate a society that limits women’s choices.

Curaon pours a lot of love into this movie. He gazes on Cleo with delicacy and reverence. She is a our madonna: a saintly protagonist to attach our hopes. He is less forgiving with his mother, whose weaknesses are painted with a much heavier hand, but he sees her pain and looks upon her choices with empathy.

The villains are the men who hurt the women who loved him. To those men he is merciless; they are without nuance and undeserving of understanding.

Beyond the ode to the mother figures in his life, Cuaron, as he is wont to do, infuses into the movie the currents of Mexico’s social-economic and political situation.

Curaon is the writer, director and cinematographer of Roma making this movie a singular manifestation of his vision as a filmmaker.

This movie is in Spanish. Stream it on Netflix.

AM Live

AM Live is NTV's morning current affairs show that sets the agenda for the day with insightful panels every weekday.


Business Redefined

Business Redefined is Kenya’s premier thought leadership platform for unpacking matters regarding economic and finance policy as well demystifying complex developments in the region’s capital markets.


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Full Episodes

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Gumzo La Sato

Gumzo La Sato is a live social issues show that aims to create awareness about issues affecting the larger society. The discussions range from Parenting, Marital bliss and struggles, Oppression, violence, and all matters of the Heart.

Health Diary

Health Diary is a weekly show that highlights different types of diseases/conditions and seeks ways to prevent, treat/manage them. The show debunks this through real life stories and also feature specialists in different fields, to offer medical advice on the same.

Letter To My Younger Self

Letter To My Younger Self is a podcast where guests get to write a letter to their younger self, from which Maxine formulates questions to ask them during the hour-long show.

Mazao Talks

Mazao looks at agriculture and agribusiness

Nation Reports

Nation Reports is a weekly podcast offers an opportunity for listeners to interact with various reporters and journey with them as they unravel the biggest most emotive stories.

One Health Lens Podcast

Discussing health matters and human stories from Kenya and across Africa. We talk big picture from people to policy, ecosystems, and everything in between. Follow us on LinkedIn:

Paradise Lost

Paradise Lost peeks through the story of Louis Otieno, the times, and everything in between.



Speaking of GEN Z

Speaking of Gen Z brings you entertaining but meaningful conversations about a generation that is trying to navigate through adulthood. Join hosts Michelle, Jackie and Esther as they unravel all things Gen Z.

Sport On

Sport-On is a 30-minute sports magazine show on NTV and 3 hours on NATION FM. The show seeks to give the sports “fanatics” and “funatics” comprehensive and in-depth coverage of sports both locally and internationally.


The extent of technological growth is beyond mere acknowledgment; it has seamlessly integrated into our daily existence. A few years ago, the notion of paying electricity bills through mobile money or recharging with 'tokens' in Kenya seemed inconceivable. Online product sales were considered distant, and artificial intelligence is rapidly reshaping various facets of our lives. Amidst these technological leaps, those with a solid understanding of tech can navigate challenges, seize opportunities, and build a sustainable livelihood. Tech over Show aims to be the platform facilitating discussions among thought leaders, innovators, tech companies, and the government, addressing challenges and opportunities in Kenya's thriving tech industry.


Thamani is a business show which is dedicated to emerging issues regarding micro, small and medium size businesses.

The Politalk podcast

This is The Politalk podcast. Here we look into the ins and outs of everything Kenyan politics. We pull no punches and have no reason to sugarcoat anything that matters to Kenyans.

The Trend

A two-hour-long live show that airs on Fridays. The show focuses on what is current in the entertainment industry, controversial and popular across all media platforms targeting those aged between 25 and 35 years.

The trend podcast

The trend podcast highlights and captures the best of banter from #TTTT segment that airs every Friday on NTV. It's the TTTT EXTRA

The Wicked Edition

The Wicked Edition with Dr. King’ori seeks to address serious issues through humour and relatable wit. It is a two-part half hour show filmed in front of a live audience


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Twende is a travel show that highlights beautiful, unique, diverse locations, people, and cultures. The show offers fresh perspectives on familiar locations and memorable experiences in new ones.


This Saturday evening lifestyle show lets viewers share their stories and life experiences as openly & honestly for the purpose of shifting the culture of silence.

VIP Access

VIP ACCESS is Anyiko Owoko’s YouTube and podcast show on Music and Culture dedicated to promoting Africa’s most promising talent and creatives. This podcast grants you VIP access into timeless interviews while providing a platform for rising as well as established artists across the continent. Since launching in 2018, Anyiko has interviewed over 70 African music stars.


This weekly news show aims to have all sides of debate but not be constrained by it, listen to main voices in the contest but not allow them to hold the viewers hostage, entertain debate but allow push back with all due respect.

When death do us part

In this podcast, three widowers openly speak about the process of grief, how they found themselves exposed to the emotional turmoil of losing their wives, and how society still does not know how to deal with them.

Your World

Your World is a health, wellness and variety show. It provides a platform for audiences and experts to share their experiences on how to improve or manage health issues, across Kenya and the Africa region.