It’s a shame that we’re only now discovering the work of British-Nigerian writer, filmmaker Zina Saro-Wiwa (daughter of the late Nigerian human rights activist, Ken Saro-Wiwa).
A few days ago, Tambay posted an excerpt from a documentary project from Zina, titled How Do Africans Kiss?, which was created for the ongoing Progress Of Love exhibit (a collaborative project between The Menil Collection in Houston, the Centre for Contemporary Art (in Lagos, Nigeria), and the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts in St. Louis). You can watch that HERE if you missed it.
We continue to mine her existing oeuvre for past work to share here with you, and become familiar (I may as well say she’s on Tambay’s Black Filmmakers To Watch/Pay Attention To list).
Here’s another experimental piece titled The Deliverance of Comfort – a short satirical tale about a so-called ‘child witch’ called Comfort.
In the filmmakers own words, here’s a longer description, as well as her thought process in coming up with the film, which I strongly encourage you to first read before watching; or you could read it after you watch, but do read it:
The film begins with the voice of a “priest” explaining how one identifies a child witch and what to do when one is found. The script in this part of the film is derived from a startling recent UNESCO report which contained interviews from several “priests” that exorcised so-called child witches. In the 2nd half of the film we see the consequences of the apparent ‘exorcism’. The Deliverance of Comfort is a critical and densely-layered response to the belief in child witches in some parts of rural Nigeria and Africa. The film questions the very nature of belief and comments on the complex relationship between pre-Christian pagan belief and modern day Nigerian Christianity. The relationship between Exu, The Devil, the human spirit and God. Inspired by the low-fi special effects employed in Nigerian Nollywood films especially when the supernatural is being evoked, “The Deliverance of Comfort” uses these same techniques but challenges the conservative and unchanging ideas about the supernatural drawing uncomfortable conclusions. In essence using Nollywood to subvert Nollywood.
I love that she experiments with cinema language and isn’t married to convention. It’s always good to see black filmmakers working outside of traditional boundaries.
Here’s the full 7 1/2-minute experimental short: