In the uneven and somewhat shapeless short “In Time,” Bisi (co-director Adetoro Makinde) is a Nigerian American torn between the ancient traditions of her Yoruban heritage and the freedoms of her Americanized lifestyle. It is the day of her wedding and her family has gathered in full ceremonial garb and spirit. But Bisi clearly has something else on her mind and is reluctant to break down even to the best friend she hasn’t seen in years. It’s not until the moment of her final affirmation that Bisi freaks and runs out, leaving her would-be husband with his birka, or whatever it is they call it in Africa, flapping in the wind, figuratively speaking. You see, during her extended time in her ancestral homeland, Bisi’s “plumbing” was barbarically, permanently mutilated, as is the custom, to the point where childbirth is no longer an option. In the film’s most touching moment, Bisi’s fiancé assures her that everything will in fact, be okay.
Though crafted with obvious love and respect for tradition by Makinde and Maurice Dwyer, “In Time” nonetheless lacks focus, particularly in the early scenes. It’s not until what seems like midway through the film that we even meet Bisi, and even later that we meet her fiancé. It’s as if the filmmakers either cut too much out or decided late in the game what their film was even about. The travesty of sexual mutilation is too important a subject to treat so haphazardly. “In Time” is finely acted and well-intended, but for a much treatment of this material, see last year’s acclaimed “Moolaade”.