We posted a trailer for this short film on the old S&A site – this must have been in 2010/2011 – and, as I recall, a few of you were intrigued by what you saw in those 45 few seconds.
I’d forgotten all about the film since then, and was reminded of it this morning while researching for another post on Nigerian cinema, when I came across the full short film, which was uploaded to YouTube just this past December.
It’s embedded below, so check it out.
As a recap.. the film was directed by Bolaji Kekere-Ekun for 37thSTATE (a media production company that produces African culture & lifestyle content), and is titled Nkiru – the director’s fun take on an age-old African folktale of love and sacrifice, based on the Diaspora urban legend known as Mami Wata (Mother Water).
As a kid growing up in Nigeria many years ago, my memories of Mami Wata are that she was some kind of an evil spirit who would come from the ocean and snatch up people who’d done bad things, returning to the ocean with them, to be never seen again. At least that’s the story we were told as kids (among many others), as I recall, by the grownups, in an attempt to get us to good children.
But the legend has taken many forms throughout the African diaspora, and you’d likely hear a variety of stories of what Mami Wata truly represents. In some cases, she’s actually a good spirit, or a mermaid, whose presence in any one person’s life is a sign of good fortune.
Others will describe her as cunning and seductive, or protective yet dangerous, a snake charmer, or a combination of all of the above.
And just as varied are descriptions of her physical self – having long dark hair, very fair skin and compelling eyes; or in other cases, short hair, and even bald; she may appear to her devotees (in dreams and visions) as a beautiful mermaid, complete with a tail, she is also said to walk the streets of modern African cities in the guise of a gorgeous but elusive woman. And the colors she most often wears are either red or white, or red and white. Those 2 colors seem to be the most dominant in all the various tales of the legend.
But check out Bolaji’s 12-minute short film below; while I could point out the problems I saw in it, I won’t this time, and instead say that I appreciate the effort on the filmmaker’s part. Plus it’s well-photographed, with all its vibrant colors, as well as the use of the location itself.
I’ll be watching Bolaji’s progress from here-on, and would like to see what came after (or will come after) Nkiru.
First, here’s the trailer as a reminder; and underneath it, you’ll find the full short film: