The Movie “Eyimofe” Will Be Premired In The Cinemas On Friday
Fabenmedia Nigera reports that Arie and Chuko Esiri’s role in the upcoming film “Eyimofe” is attracting international interest because it was totally funded in Nigeria and was made with a mostly Nigerian cast and crew.
The debut movie from co-directors (and twin brothers) Arie and Chuko Esiri, “Eyimofe” (“This Is My Desire“), is a heartbreaking and optimistic depiction of ordinary human endurance in Nigeria, West Africa. The movie follows the journeys of two strangers at the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder who are distantly related.
The video provides a vivid glimpse of life in contemporary, colorful, chaotic Lagos, the country’s largest city, whose social fabric is represented in all its brightness and complexity, shot on wonderfully textured 16mm. It’s also a story inspired by the creators’ own experiences.
“In a romantic way, we wanted to insert the film in the catalog and annals of the great city films that had been shot on celluloid,” said Chuko in a recent interview with News men. “We’ve seen Rome on film, we’ve seen Paris and London, but everything that we’d seen of Nigeria on film is archival footage, it’s ethnographic footage, it’s documentary. It’s not cinema, and cinema is a completely different beast.”
Documentary filmmakers may disagree, but the brothers are adamant in their beliefs. Still, immortalizing the city on film is a magnificent achievement, especially in a country with no permanent cinema infrastructure, a notoriously unreliable electrical grid, and nightmare traffic.
“Shooting on the streets of Lagos is notoriously difficult, because it’s a dense city and has what are called ‘area boys,’ or street guys,” Chuko said. “The idea of shutting down a street for a film production — I mean, if the president of the country can’t do that when he visits, then we weren’t going to be able to do it for our movie.”
They were born 30 minutes apart in Warri, Nigeria, and grew up in Lagos, but when they were eight years old, their parents sent them to an English boarding school to finish their formal education. There were no cinemas in Nigeria at the time, thus movies were not part of their childhood.
“At the time, the country was experiencing successive military regimes, and each regime had bright ideas about what was good for the culture, and these ideas were almost never good,” Chuko said. “So we didn’t grow up going to movies.”
They both went to film school twenty years later, with Arie graduating from Columbia University and Chuko from New York University. They collaborated on two short films while in New York City: “Goose,” which opened at the LA Film Festival in 2017, and “Besida,” which premiered at the Berlinale in 2018.
When they returned to Nigeria as adults, they discovered a Lagos that seemed strange. “Eyimofe” arose from that experience – the idea of leaving and returning to whatever “home” is many years later.
“It came from my returning to Nigeria for my stint in the National Youth Service,” he said. “From the age of eight to 22, I had only spent time in Nigeria on holiday, so now I was spending substantial time in a place to which I belonged but where I was also something of an alien — until then I hadn’t really faced all that it meant to be in Nigeria. I wanted to return to where it felt more familiar and where I would feel more comfortable in a national film industry. Even though Nigeria has a robust industry, Nollywood is a massive machine but I didn’t want to make the kind of films people make in it.”
Despite the fact that the Esiri brothers spent much of their lives abroad, “Eyimofe” was totally financed and produced in Nigeria, with a predominantly Nigerian cast and crew. The film is bringing Nigerian cinema to a new level of worldwide notice, with screenings at festivals such as Berlin and New Directors/New Films. However, as Nigerian films gain increasing recognition outside of the country, the question of what constitutes a “Nigerian film” arises.
Akeju, a US-based director at Aflik TV while making comment on the new movie, added:
” The movie details much of African migrants experiences in the Diaspora. The production is very different and professional. Kudos to the directors and all the team behind it”
On Friday, July 23, 2021, Janus Films will premiere “Eyimofe” in a variety of venues, with the hope of inspiring as many people as possible.