“It’s maddening to be alone in a city with 14 million people”
The 2007 film Relentless in Lagos, starring Gideon Okeke (Big Brother Nigeria, Tinsel) and Nneka Egbuna (MOBO award winning singer) alongside Jimmy Jean Louis, the Haitian actor who was the lead of the movie Phat Girls, will be premiering at the 54th BFI London Film Festival 13 to 28 Octobver, its writer/director Andy Amadi Okoroafor, has disclosed.
“Though set in Freetown Sierra Leone and Lagos Nigeria, the story could easily have been anywhere in Africa,” Okoroafor says. “Cote d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Congo, Rwanda; It is an African story, but also a universal tale. An African story in its landscape and particular circumstances, but a universal story in its characters, its heart and theme, Relentless deals with the consequence of wars on the psyche of the contemporary African. From Rwanda (genocide), the Congo (the African world war), Burundi (ethnic struggle for power) to Cote d’Ivoire and Darfur. Wars with different ramifications, and brutality, Liberia and later Sierra Leone was at the vanguard of these brutal conflicts of which the Biafran war into which our hero Obi was born is one the first in a long list of conflicts that has distorted Africa.
“The film has the ambition of exploring Africa beyond the news headlines, sound bites and statistics. It is about looking at Africa from a contemporary point of view. It’s about the little people; the ones nobody reports after the satellite transmission dishes have been folded and moved to another cliché. I want Relentless to also be a mirror for African society to look at itself, criticise itself, and celebrate itself.”
It’s a story about loneliness, love and self-discovery that explores Africaís throbbing megacity Lagos, and the effects of war and loss. “Visually edgy and expressionist,” according to the official website, “The film will explore the boundaries of digital cinema, embracing and harnessing digital technology to enhance good storytelling. It will be controlled, beautifully framed and composed, visually sumptuous and emotional touching, portraying Lagos and other African cities, as they have never been seen.”
Obi, an orphan brought up by the military, becomes a peace-keeping soldier in worn torn Sierra Leone. He meets Blessing, a Sierra Leonean woman, and falls in love for the first time. His world and life are devastated when he finds Blessing mutilated by kid soldiers and rebels. His only option is to kill her misery.
Set, as the name suggests, in Nigeria’s commercial capital, the film explores the vast canvas that is Lagos today ‚ powerful, dangerous, alive and uncompromising; fraught with deceptions and corruption yet thriving with hope, strength and resilience. The film is not afraid to subtly question Nigeria’s peace keeping troops in Sierra Leone, the tragic history of Biafra, the silent plague of human sacrifice, mass government inefficiency and corruption. This is also a film that celebrates Nigeria and Lagos as an African city bustling with the energy, music, vibrant, full of culture and humanity. Relentless also has a powerful soundtrack featuring Nigerian and international artists.
Born in Nigeria, Okoroafor pursued his education and a very successful creative career in Paris and is returning to Nigeria to fulfill his lifelong ambition of making great films about contemporary Africa for a world audience. A photographer and fashion and art director, he is also the publisher of Clam Magazine (clammag.com).
He is preparing a Nigeria premiere and activation.
Click here to see the film’s page at the film festival