Eyimofe [This Is My Desire] (2020)

Director: Arie Esiri, Chuko Esiri
Writer: Chuko Esiri
Cast: Jude Akuwudike, Temiloluwa Ami-Williams, Cynthia Ebijie
Part of: Viennale
Seen on: 25.10.2020

Lagos. Mofe (Jude Akuwudike) is an electrician who dreams of going to Spain and making a new life for himself in Europe. But it is difficult to arrange everything and life has a habit of getting in the way. Also dreaming of Europe, Italy to be specific, is Rosa (Temiloluwa Ami-Williams) and with her her sister Grace (Cynthia Ebijie). But for them, too, life just keeps happening and crossing their already complex arrangements.

Eyimofe shows what people are willing to put themselves through in the hope for a better life (and what they have to put themselves through). While it captures that nicely, I just didn’t connect with it in the way I should have.

The film poster looking like a passport cover.

The two stories the film tells are not connected beyond the general theme. And of the two, I thought that Mofe’s story was handled a little better. Rosa’s story was a little clichéd, though I will admit that it wasn’t any more unrealistic for it. She would have deserved an epilogue just like Mofe got, though.

As a privileged (white) European, it is rather eye-opening in any case to see what these two Nigerians, who are probably emblematic for so many, have to deal with and the deals they have to take, pinning all their hopes on leaving, mentally almost gone already, and yet still rooted in their families and circumstances. (It is even more harrowing to think about the realities they would have to face in Europe: continued poverty, racism, and that without their families. That is, if they even get past the increasing number of refugee camps at the outskirts of Europe where people live in the worst ways. It’s shameful really.)

Mofe (Jude Akuwudike) looking out a window.

I also liked the film’s cinematography (by Arseni Khachaturan). He has an interesting way of capturing his characters and the city, portraying not only Mofe and Rosa, but also Lagos itself.

Despite the many good things, I felt myself remaining at a distance to the movie. It ran a little long (probably could have cut around 20 minutes), despite the fact that I even nodded off once (deep in festival mode at this point), but I don’t think that’s what really kept me from really immersing myself in the film. I just didn’t click with it all the way.

Rosa (Temiloluwa Ami-Williams) hugging her sister Grace (Cynthia Ebijie).

Summarizing: Despite my distance to it, very interesting and worth seeing.

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