Film Club: May's Picks

A monthly roundup of the best of African cinema.

Have you been wondering what African films to watch at the cinema or on streaming services this month? As of last month, the streaming wars we have been clamouring for African content officially began.


With over thirty new African titles currently streaming on Amazon Prime Video this May, there is a lot to catch up on. And to help you navigate what to watch, Bside has carefully curated the best of historical dramas, Rom-com, documentaries, and comedies for your viewing pleasure in May.



STRANGERS

Directed by Nollywood filmmaker Biodun Stephen, Strangers is inspired by true-life events. It follows the life of a remote village boy, untamed by civilization, but hit by calamitous events that changed the course of his life.


The flick stars Bimbo Oshin, Lateef Adedimeji, Jide Kosoko, Bolaji Ogunmola, Femi Adebayo, Peter Fatomilola, Debbie Felix, Chris Iheuwa, Bimbo Akintola, Mide Glover, Nonso Odogwu and others. The movie has clinched a gold award for Best Director, at the International Independent Film Awards.


WHERE TO WATCH: CINEMAS NATIONWIDE


AYINLA

If you missed Ayinla during its cinema run in 2021, the record-breaking box office musical film is now available on streaming platforms. Set in 1970s Abeokuta, the film chronicles the rise to fame of legendary Apala musician Ayinla Omowura, his relationships with women, and the tragedies that ultimately befall him.


As Ayinla becomes a household name, a show promoter is determined to take Ayinla (Adedimeji Lateef) and his Apala Group on tour in London, and a journalist (Ade Laoye) is given the assignment to interview the uneducated musician who has an apparent aversion to interviews. At the peak of his career, Ayinla’s womanizing leads to a feud with his Manager (Mr. Macaroni) and sets him on a path to doom.


WHERE TO WATCH: NETFLIX


DAZZLING MIRAGE

Adapted to screen by Ade Solanke, Dazzling Mirage is a 2014 drama film produced and directed by Tunde Kelani. The film tells the story of a young sickle-cell patient and the various social and emotional challenges she is faced with. The film stars Kemi "Lala" Akindoju, and Kunle Afolayan in lead roles alongside Bimbo Manuel, Yomi Fash Lanso, Taiwo Ajai-Lycett, and Seun Akindele. It also features special appearances from Adewale Ayuba and Sean Tizzle.


WHERE TO WATCH: NETFLIX


THE THERAPIST

The therapist is an intriguing story of the realities of marriage and relationships which questions the anomalies of the age-long concept.


Set in modern-day Nigeria, the plot tells the story of the lead character, Eloho Odafe who loses everything in a divorce to her abusive ex-husband after 11 years of marriage because of a prenup that was signed on the whims of love and affection.

It takes us on a journey of self-reflection as it explores abuse, manipulation and also sacrifices and compromises in relationships and how much is too far.


WHERE TO WATCH: AMAZON PRIME VIDEO


SUPERSTAR

Produced by Inkblot productions in December 2021, Superstar is a story that revolves around Nancy Isime’s character as Queen – whose parents wanted her to study law at the University but had a passion for acting and decided to study theatre arts instead, she moved to Lagos after school and lived the life of a struggling artist until she eventually made it big in Nollywood.


The film is a decent production by Nollywood standards. A few laughs here and there and you will sheepishly root for Queen as she goes through her troubled path to superstardom.


WHERE TO WATCH: AMAZON PRIME VIDEO


FOREIGNER'S GOD

At the peak of the colonial era of Nigeria, English documentary photographer Pepper Claude, following a tale of the supernatural, journeys into the heart of Igbo land in search of a story. All goes well until his bodyguard mysteriously disappears and he falls in love with one of the culprits- Anya, an accused witch living under subhuman in a witches' camp in the heart of the jungle.


The period piece produced and directed by Ifan Micheals stars veterans Pete Edochie, Sam Dede, Onyeka Onwenu, Eucharia Anunobi alongside Toni Tones, Ini-Dima Okojie, Lala Akindoju, Toyin Abraham, Henry Brinton Coxe, and BBNaija star Bam Bam.


WHERE TO WATCH: AMAZON PRIME VIDEO


SAVAGE BEAUTY

Worldwide brand Bhengu Beauty is about to unveil the new face of its brand, after taking submissions from social media users. It’s an important day for Don Bhengu (Dumisani Mbebe), the mogul that built the company from nothing; after criticism over the company’s overreliance on light-complexioned models and Photoshop, the chosen winner, Zinhle Manzini (Rosemary Zimu), is a beauty who more reflects South Africa’s black population.


Behind the Bhengu Beauty empire brand is a family rooted in evil atrocities and there is one person whose mission is to bring down one of the most powerful South African families over the evil that was done to her family.


WHERE TO WATCH: NETFLIX


BIGGER THAN AFRICA

Bigger Than Africa dives into how the Yoruba culture of West Africa survived and transcended slavery to remain alive till this day in the New World. It’s a piece that takes you on a journey to 6 countries: Brazil, the United States, Cuba, Nigeria, Trinidad & Tobago, and the Republic of Benin.


Premiered globally on Netflix, Bigger Than Africa introduces local and international audiences to the historical influence of Yoruba culture and how it has crossed over continents and connected the Black diaspora.


WHERE TO WATCH: NETFLIX





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