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The NY African Film Festival: Relentless

Relentless (2011)

Directed by Andy Amadi Okoroafor

Drama, Nigeria, 92 minutes

Screened at the 2012 NY African Film Festival at Lincoln Center

One may become a little confused trying to follow the complex storyline of Relentless from newbie film director, Andy Amadi Okoroafor, but the young, Nigerian-born filmmaker says that is exactly what he intended with is film focusing on former soldier, Obi (Gideon Okeke), who returns home to Lagos after experiencing war and loss in Sierra Leone. Okoroafor says "This is a film that is meant to play on the psyche, we are dealing with a character that is essentially traumatized from war and I wanted this to come across in the way we shot the film."Mr. Okoroafor certainly achieves this it as there is a hazy, dream-like quality to the film's visuals that seem to parallel Obi's fuzzy mental state.

This same fuzziness becomes the driving factor of Obi's story, leading viewers along a sprawling screenplay set against the backdrop of political corruption, as we watch Obi's world collide with a troubled prostitute named Honey (played by singer/songwriter Nneka Egbuna). The end result is a visually stimulating film that leaves you hungry for more. That "more" though, is left up to the viewer as Okoroafor peppers much of the film with innuendo and cultural references that may go over heads (especially non-Nigerians) at a first look. Okoroafor, who hails the legendary singer/activist Fela Kuti as a source of inspiration, prefers to keep the film's sociopolitical element (touching on politics, religion, gender, and sexuality in Nigeria) subtle. The filmmaker, who has established his visual artistry in the land of commercials and music videos, says "I wanted to focus on the aesthetic of Nigeria, of Lagos. I wanted to create a piece of visual poetry...to give audiences a glimpse of Africa that is rarely seen while touching on issues that are specific to Nigeria." In this way, he succeeds.

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