Dir: Femi Odugbemi
Showcase: Film Africa, The Royal African Society’s Annual Film Festival
Love as it can only really happen in Lagos is what Gidi Blues is all about and my goodness is it a rollercoaster. Though a romantic story, Gidi Blues does not shy away from dealing with topics such as personal-social responsibility, poverty, class difference, body image, gambling addiction and even catfishing. It is a film that is not afraid to show contemporary Lagos in all its glory.
The film’s two young protagonists, Akin and Nkem (played by rising stars Gideon Okeke and Hauwa Allahbura), meet after Akin retrieves Nkem’s handbag after it is stolen in a Lagos Island marketplace. The relationship between these two very different characters blossoms as the rich, mummy-dependent playboy falls for the socially conscious events organiser. Moreover, this happens against the backdrop of Akin’s mother’s attempt to set him up with a Pastor’s daughter.
Jaiye and Simbi, Akin and Nkem’s best friends, are not left out of the action as Jaiye’s gambling habit gets out of hand and Simbi’s desperate attempt to find love in spite of her weight leads her to look to catfishing in order to gain male attention.
The ever present star of the film is the city of Lagos which is brought to life by the film’s cinematography. Many facets of Lagos are shown from the marketplace to the mansions, from the slum on the Lagoon to the beautiful Freedom Park. The viewer is left with no doubt that Lagos is a city that may still be finding its feet but is slowly marching into the 21st century, bright lights and all. Gidi Blues easily shows both the Africa you see and the Africa you don’t see.
The director, Femi Odugbemi, has given us a film that is a love story to Lagos and therefore portrays issues that Lagosian millennials deal with on a daily basis all framed by a very modern but Nigerian soundtrack. Banky W, Nigerian R&B singer-songwriter even makes a performing appearance.
Gidi Blues is altogether a successful portrayal of young Nigerians that are challenging the status quo, most especially, the perception of whose responsibility it is to develop the country.
The multi-talented Femi Odugbemi is better known for his documentaries but has excelled in his direction of this film, marking himself as one of the filmmakers taking Nollywood in a new direction. Not only is this film technically brilliant, it is an original story that avoids the theatrics that Nollywood is famed for.
Gidi Blues Trailer
Gidi Blues premiered in Nigeria over the summer and had its UK premiere at Film Africa, The Royal African Society’s Annual Film Festival. No international release date has been announced yet.