‘Eyimofe (This Is My Desire)’ Review: Always Hustling

‘Eyimofe (This Is My Desire)’ Review: Always Hustling
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‘Eyimofe (This Is My Desire)’ Review: Always Hustling

‘Eyimofe (This Is My Desire)’ Review: Always Hustling

The Nigerian feature film “Eyimofe” is about a lot of different things – migration, exploitation, misogyny – but it’s mostly about money. After the life of two people in Lagos, who both dream of immigrating to Europe to improve their prospects, the film traces a network of Nigerian naira – currency needed for hospital bills, housing, lawyers, without end – which traps the characters. , sucking them in deeper the more they try to escape. They are at the mercy of a city where every interaction is a transaction, and where the myths of bootstrap capitalism die.

Mofe (Jude Akuwudike), who directs the first of the two halves of the film, lives in a cramped slum with his sister and nephews, and works as a mechanic in a dangerously dilapidated repair shop to save enough to immigrate to Spain. Rosa (Temi Ami-Williams), the focus of the film’s second chapter, lives in the same neighborhood as her pregnant teenage sister. Rosa has two jobs, and yet is forced to deal with unsavory characters – including a predatory businesswoman and a loving landlord – to pay her bills and get visas for Italy.

Both Mofe and Rosa are struck by poignant personal tragedies that, in a different film – and with different actors – might take over from the narrative. Both characters, however, continue to move forward with the stoicism of someone for whom hardship is the norm. In addition, there is no real time Grieving: The bills keep piling up, and even death comes with complex bureaucracy and a high price tag. Rosa sees a silver lining when an American expat begins dating her, but she is soon forced to succumb to the very stereotype that her wealthy and condescending friends have of her: a gold digger. Survival and manipulation are blurry when you’re so desperate, leaving little room for something as sincere as desire.

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With aerial shots of Lagos’ bustling markets and sound design suited to the chatter of the city, directors Arie and Chuko Esiri evocatively capture a setting where everyone, rich or poor, is always jostling each other. and to haggle. Cinematographer Arseni Khachaturan shoots a warm, grainy 16mm film, which not only showcases Lagos’ vibrant colors, but also its textures. The heat, dust and crumbling facades of Mofe and Rosa’s world contrast with the rarefied air and shiny surfaces of the places where Rosa’s boyfriend takes her on a date. The portrait of life that emerges organically from this sober and observant approach makes “Eyimofe” the rare social-realistic drama which conveys a criticism without didacticism and a merciless empathy.

Eyimofe (It’s my desire)
Unclassified. In Nigerian English with subtitles. Duration: 1 hour 56 minutes. In theaters.

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