When Lambs Become Lions

Jon Kasbe

United States 2018, 79 min.


Spoken language: Swahili

Subtitles: English

Dutch premiere

Festival year: 2019

‘X’ is a small-time poacher and ivory dealer in Kenya. His cousin Asan is a wildlife ranger, with no mercy for poachers. ‘Out here, we are all hunters,’ he says. But when hard times fall on Asan, both men start seeing how their fates are interconnected.


The elephant is part of Kenya’s national heritage, but it threatens to be exterminated as a result of the illegal ivory trade. ‘X’ is a poacher, killing elephants and selling their ivory tusks for good money. He knows that poaching is frowned upon. ‘But when the goods come in,’ he says, ‘how can you resist?’

His cousin Asan used to be a poacher too. But after he started a family, Asan joined the poacher’s biggest enemies: the National Reserve Game Rangers. The rangers have the support of the local population and of the government, which takes a firm stand against poaching. But the cold reality for Asan is that the rangers have not been paid for two months, with no solution in sight. And with Asan’s wife pregnant with their second child, and the marriage straining, X offers to help his cousin. Strong documentary set in a beautiful Kenyan landscape, about choosing your path in life, and facing the consequences of your choices.


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Talkshows & debates

When Lambs Become Lions: After talk about the film

Friday, March 29, 2019 - 18:45

After the film Bahram Sadeghi and researcher Stasja Koot will talk about the themes of the film.

When Lambs Become Lions: After talk about the film

Saturday, March 30, 2019 - 11:45

After the screening film journalist Floortje Smit will talk with researcher Harry Wels about the themes from the film.