The Film Blog: Kunle Afolayan’s ‘Roti’ is an exercise in brilliance – but will Nigerians go to see it?

The casting of this movie is excellent. Everyone is perfect – Kunle Afolayan, Kate Henshaw, Kunle’s mum (who, we hear, is his mum in real life!), Fatiha Balogun, Fathia’s husband.

It’s a melting pot of depth and soul. And we are so grateful for their talent.

Even the son, brings in talent far and above what Nollywood has gotten from children so far.

Then there is the plot – complex in a way Nollywood doesn’t often see – and the thoughtful location and production design. Afolayan and his Director of Photography, Yinka Edwards pay careful attention in capturing a slice of Nigeria’s physical reality not often seen in film. You need to see it to understand it – if you’re about nuance and texture.

Roti undersells itself by claiming to be a movie about re-incarnation. Actually it is not. It is a movie about being, about loss and pain and love. And it is heartbreaking.

It is not a perfect film of course, but it stretches Nigeria’s present milieu, and it proves that Afolayan remains on a class of his own in this market.

Everyone should see it. But as it’s a tragedy, one that stretches both the mind and the imagination, will Nigerians take a break from formulaic comedies to pay it homage?

That’s the second tragedy lovers of the genre might have to confront.

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