Bambino and Bawa meet in Lagos and hit it off immediately. During their long trips around the city they develop a deep affection for each other. But in a society which considers homosexuality taboo, they feel the pressure of social norms.
Seattle International Film Festival 2023: Film #13
People may unfavourably label this as the Nigerian Moonlight, but save for the Lagos-specific cultural inflections (multiple languages, the social implications of a man bringing another man his food, the domestic mise en scène, etc.), there's little here that isn't present in many other films in the 'coming to understand you are gay where that is forbidden' subgenre of LGBT cinema. What is regrettably new here, however, is many careless errors in sound levels, as well as multiple typographical and timing errors in the subtitles. Quite striking to see these in a feature movie at a well-known film festival.
Still, no real harm was done there, and there was thoughtful use of camera framing at times, especially with voices of economic and social authority being voiced off-screen. It's not that the characters cannot see each other, but rather that we, the viewer, cannot see them… or they cannot see us. More of this would have been rewarding. There was also a semi-stilted and awkward quality of the acting, and whilst this sometimes read as interestingly mannered, it often felt just a little amateurish. I would also have loved the black-and-white street photography being interspersed throughout the film, rather than being included shortly before the end. Indeed, this would have lent more of an Ozu-like vibe that the use of static camera positions and domestic scenes were creating.