This film is my salute to doomed outcasts, people who transgress the limits of their society, risking terrible evil, and confronting their own destruction. The world may ultimately destroy them, but not till they say their say. It’s how I salute them, these doomed outcasts: In silence …& in tears.
Nigerian writer/director Didi Cheeka describes his feature film, In Silence… And In Tears, an alum of the Berlin Talent Campus, Babylon International program (a three-way partnership between Berlin, UK, and the Nigerian film companies), and the Durban FilmMart, and which is currently listed as being in pre-production.
Produced by Ikechukwu Omenaihe, In silence… And In Tears centers on Salome, a young Muslim woman who takes part in a mixed-tribe street performance of Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet, in the tribally-scarred northern Nigerian city of Jos. The performance is done in a desperate desire to end the killings happening daily in the streets.
Salome is driven to madness by the betrayal & brutality of her family, her community, & the world outside. A re-encounter with her stage lover, & the possibility of redemption, catapults her into the most desperate of all desires – vengeance.
Director Cheeka says he’s always been intrigued by characters – specifically, women driven to the edge, responding violently to their own despair and the cruelty of the world around them. He further states that the story was partly inspired by the real life story of an Indian girl in Uganda whose father banished her from his life because she took part in a class production of Romeo And Juliet, and kissed her Ugandan stage lover, in a production whose intent was to confront their tribal prejudices.
There’s a lot more to his inspiration for this particular film, which you will find in this really informative interview he did with the This Day Live website (a Nigerian news property); I encourage you to read it, as he goes into a lot of detail about the project, his inspirations, the starring role, whether a woman director would tell the story any differently, and more, which should give you a good idea of what you can expect from him and this film. You can read it HERE.
Of note, when discussion about who he’d like to see play the lead role (Salome), there is mention of Ethiopian model, Liya Kebede, and Rwandan actress Carole Karemera. But the director has his eyes set on Malian model, actress, Youma Diakite (above) for the part, stating: “I saw Youma Diakite, Malian model, actress, of Ocean’s Twelve and I knew I’d seen Salome. At once vulnerable and smoldering with suppressed fire, a strange mixture of some wild, desert place beneath the faintest touch of tenderness and womanness.”
It’s not clear whether she’s actually been approached, or is attached to the project. Her role in Ocean’s Twelve was minor.
But with the success the project has attracted thus far (Berlin, Durban, etc), it looks like it’s well on its way to becoming a reality.
The budget is listed at 1.3 million Euro (or about $1.5 million).