LFF 2020 ‘Eyimofe (This is My Desire)’ Review: The Journey to the West Starts at Home

Mofe (Jude Akuwudike) and Rosa (Temi-Ami-Williams) are living in Lagos but are soon to migrate to Spain and Italy respectively. The film explores their lives in Nigeria, their reasons for wanting to leave, and Hope’s for their new lives. Complications and tragedy threaten their plans, forcing them both to consider the lengths they are willing to go to reach the west.

Eyimofe is about desperation. It’s about the impossible situation Mofe and Rosa find themselves in. Every step they take towards a new life comes with more challenges. They are caught between responsibilities to their families and the people they’ve involved in their attempts to reach the west. It’s a tightening net that gradually cuts off the light from the story.

It’s also a film about tragedy. Great misfortune befalls Mofe and Rosa which brings them into conflict with the cold indifference of institutions around them. As Rosa’s sister becomes sick and is at risk of losing a baby that has already been promised to a human trafficker, she is forced to turn to her community to beg for money. Everything has a terrible cost.

Yet Eyimofe is not going to tell the simple story of hard lives in Nigeria being exploited by uncaring traffickers. There is generosity in the community of which they are a part. The challenge for Mofe and Rosa is not to lose their humanity in their attempts to work themselves towards a better life. Mofe is required to tend a ridiculously outdated and dangerous generator that keeps shocking him. It’s a perfect analogy for the process he has submitted himself too. It’s just waiting for him to snap.

All of this is presented in beautiful cinematography that vividly renders the city of Lagos, from the slums to the high end restaurants and hotels that our characters inhabit as strangers or staff. Directors Arie and Chuko Esiri have created an intricate and authentic feeling modern portrait of a city that is at once full of vibrant life and colour but also full of exploitative criminals and terrible weath inequality. There’s a subplot involving Rosa becoming romantically involved with an American contractor. Amongst his friends money is casually discussed as if it weren’t life or death to the people below.

Eyimofe is a fantastic work that is both beautifully evocative and striking. It’s tender story of two human beings trying to survive and cope with the society that has no interest in saving them.

Five Stars

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