Our two protagonists live in the same universe, but they never really interact. However, other characters and places will be found in both acts as Rosa and Mofe roam the same streets and common spaces: a small hospital reception area, a market, or the many roads leading to it. In this sense, Eyimofe can be another entry into the “life works in mysterious and ironic yet poetic ways” list. Likewise, it is a film where people are quietly going on about their day despite the many frustrations caused by their predicaments. It is also a story of the many sacrifices one is willing to make to reach their goal, whether it is love, a life, pride, sanity, happiness, and, of course, time and money.
Poverty or precarity is at the center of the film, happening in a place where everything is built with the least assurance for more profits, no matter the consequences. “What kind of wickedness is this?” is the appropriate exclamation in many situations in this money-driven, capitalistic world. But, it is ever so true in many scenes in Eyimofe, especially when it is uttered. A scene so affecting (and maddening) about the fact that one has to pay often exorbitant fees to give their loved ones a proper send-off or else pay daily fees to not to be “discarded” from a morgue.
“…two acts so deep and well-built they could have been separate films…”
The movie highlights in a particularly striking and realistic fashion the transactional essence of the lives of our leads vis-a-vis their relationships with everyone from landlords, to doctors, to lovers, to even family members. They live in a world where money not only makes the world go round, but corruption runs so deep that it might be more important than one’s own child.
Ultimately, the Esiri Brothers ask the question: is emigrating really worth it, or should people stay in their countries to maybe find success at a dire cost? Or attempt to fight for the betterment of their homeland though it seems impossible (something that mirrors the current climate in many nations around the world)?
Times flies gently when watching Eyimofe with two acts so deep and well-built that they could have been separate films. However, the two narratives truly complement each other, making the whole better. It’s a touching, beautiful, and complex tableau about how to overcome adversity and seek opportunities when you are at an impasse: a Nigerian story, an African story, a migrant story, a human story.
Eyimofe screened at the 2020 AFI Fest.
"…is emigrating really worth it, or should people stay in their countries to maybe find success at a dire cost?"