Review: A dream of Europe connects two strangers in the affecting Lagos-set drama ‘Eyimofe’
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Who better qualified to direct a penetrating depiction of the bonds between siblings living in contemporary Lagos than a pair of Nigerian twin brothers?
In their affecting, remarkably accomplished first feature, Arie and Chuko Esiri convey the separate stories of two individuals connected by their shared dream of finding a fresh start for themselves in Europe away from the oppressive bureaucracy, crumbling infrastructure and class division that threaten to suffocate them.
The film’s first half focuses on Mofe (heart-piercingly portrayed by Jude Akuwudike), a compassionate electrical technician working at a decrepit printing plant. His sister and her young sons are tragic victims of accidental carbon monoxide poisoning.
Its second chapter follows Rosa (Temi Ami-Williams), a young woman who works two jobs. She’s also supporting her frail, pregnant teenaged sister (Cynthia Ebijie) and fending off the attentions of a controlling older man.
Graduating from the film programs at Columbia University and NYU, respectively, Arie and Chuko have put their education to notable use here. Chuko penned the screenplay.
The influences range from the neorealist atmosphere of Vittorio De Sica’s “Bicycle Thieves” to the bifurcated structure of Wong Kar-wai’s “Chungking Express” to the preferred long takes of a Satyajit Ray. But the production, shot old school on 16 mm film, has a vibrant spirit all its own.
Through an economy of exposition, “Eyimofe,” (translated as “This is My Desire”) delivers a timeless, universal portrait of human resilience while establishing Arie and Chuko as a welcome new addition to the filmmaking brood.
In Nigerian English with English subtitles
Running Time: 1 hour, 56 minutes
Playing: Starts July 30, Laemmle Royal, West Los Angeles
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