This Is My Desire

Arie Esiri, Chuko Esiri

IndieLisboa 2020 •

Nigeria, United States, Fiction, 2020, 115′

Every year Nollywood, the Nigerian Hollywood, produces around a thousand films. Most of these don’t travel outside Africa. The first feature film by the twin brothers Esiri, based on two “twin” stories that precisely depict the desire to go to Europe, is a different case. Mofe, a middle-aged repairman in a factory, and Rosa, a young hairdresser and bartender, both look a way out of the colourful and imprisoning capital Lagos.

The desire driving these two separate stories intersects in the common hope of their characters to migrate to another country. Spain and Italy are the two parts of the film, two cities casting a shadow (or a light) that never materializes in the film, the characters never walking its streets. They can’t get out of a vibrant and unequal Lagos: Mofe and Rosa’s journey is the center of action – from the desperate financial and bureaucratic impediments to the personal tragedies that, skillfully, the Esiri brothers never throw into excessive drama, in this strong first feature. Mofe and Rosa want a better future for their core family, but what the film questions is whether this Europe/future is nothing more than an illusion and if Lagos is not equally disappointing. We are searching for Mofe and Rosa’s desire and the territory to which it belongs. (Mafalda Melo)