Film

Video Interview with Arie and Chuko Esiri on debut film Eyimofe (This is My Desire)

The elegant directorial eye of Arie and Chuko Esiri combined with skilful performances from Jude Akuwudike and Ami-Williams mark the film as another great contribution to the burgeoning independent Nigerian new wave. Arie and Chuko Esiri were born 30 minutes apart in Warri, Nigeria. Growing up in Lagos their mother would put a padlock on the TV in an attempt to make them pay attention to their studies. Twenty years later both would enrol at film school with Arie graduating from Columbia University, and Chuko completed his studies at NYU. During their time in New York they collaborated on a pair of short films: Besida (2018), which premiered at the 68th Berlinale, and Goose (2017), which had its premiere at the LA Film Festival.  Eyimofe (This is My Desire) their first feature film recently screened at the BFI London Film Festival we spoke to them about twinning and filmmaking and the pandemic in Nigeria…

The two parts of Eyimofe are entitled “Spain” and “Italy”. The European countries remain invisible as we follow the stories of Mofe, a factory technician, and Rosa, a hairdresser, in Lagos. A passport, photos and a visa form recurring, yet still marginal elements in each part of the film, which only touch briefly, while the daily lives of the protagonists are described in detail. Their misfortunes are not narrated in overly dramatic fashion and seem normal as such, sketching out the need to leave Nigeria and accompanying problems. At the bottom of the socio-economic ladder, status, money, gender, skin colour and family structures are inextricably connected. Eyimofe speaks of these entanglements with emphatic patience, which grow ever tighter. The longing for another life is but one thread in this complex mesh, a promise that floats above things and far away from them at the same time.

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