Director, Story: Ifeoma Nkiruka Chukwuogo, Ikenna Edmund Okah
Cast: Halimat Olarewaju, Tunde Azeez, Tina Mba, Lucy Ameh, Gregory Ojefua, Brutus Richard.
Run time: 21 minutes 18 seconds
Genre: Tragedy, drama
It’s almost impossible to finish this film and not be close to tears, or better still, not dab tears onto your sleeve. It’s a story reaching beyond the peripheries of screenplay for a completely moving experience. I can count on my fingers the number of scenes with any background music. Long lapses of silence drove home the seriousness of many issues concerning children. Concerning the inability for some to go to school or even afford hospital bills, and their ugly experiences with flagrant prostitution.
The film is set in a Bariga ghetto, in the premises of Madame Sugar (Tina Mba) – a bar/brothel owner, and takes us into the lives of 8 year old Ese (Halimat Olarewaju) and and 10 year old Jamil (Tunde Azeez). Their single mothers work there as prostitutes. The kids spend stretches of time sitting around doing nothing, perhaps for lack of school fees, while their mothers hustle or bicker.
It’s of this boredom that a friendship was born. A friendship that ultimately unveils our own vulnerability. Gregory Ojefua (The Arbitration) plays a customer to Hanatu (Lucy Ameh playing Jamil’s mother), and his act was as believably real as the rest of the cast. Halimat Olarewaju (Ese) put on a sterling show in this debut. Her look of resignation at the beginning of the film stays unmatched. Her ambition was to one day become a ‘Madame Sugar’, but how Jamil got to changing that course of history, including helping her read, is something to watch.
The pointy hairstyle, the costumes and make-up, the clarity and colors, the high-life feel at the bar, all combine to deliver a 9/10 performance. Directed and co-produced by Ifeoma Nkiruka Chukwuogo (Adindu – 2015), Bariga Suga is not something to watch in a crowded place. Get some space for better impact, and trust me, you’d recommend it to someone else.
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