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Nigerian Filmmaker, Daniel Obasi Explores Igbo Culture In His Latest Short Film, ‘Udara’

In January, a 22-year-old filmmaker, Daniel Obasi, released ‘An Alien in Town’, a fashion short film that depicted Obasi’s vision of Africa’s future.

Obasi’s films often examine social issues through the lens of a camera, seeking to evoke questions and answers about the past and the future of Nigeria.

After the success of his last short, Obasi has released another one based on the traditions and cultural practices of south-east Nigeria.

The film, ‘Udara’, takes a delve into the past through the idea of reincarnation (ilo uwa) while still rooted in the present, raising questions about death, memory and self-knowledge.

In a every possible estimation, Udara, suffused as it is with strong imagery and metaphors, is a very millennial film, with a subtle hint of unabashed sensuality and gender nonconformity (which has come to be Obasi’s signature visual presentation style).

Obasi says the film is an “experimental fantasy” that “draws inspiration from the past and present in an attempt to broaden the perspective of what is possible with Igbo culture”.

The art director, stylist and photographer added: “The film is an ode to the diverse layers of being Igbo through; symbolism, music, traditional beliefs, the mild conflict and interdependence between Christianity and traditional religion within the Igbo communities.”

‘Udara’ is described thus:

“After the loss of a dear one, two girls take a trip back to their hometown in an attempt to connect with the past. Ada is constantly haunted by dreams of herself in a different lifetime, [while] Nne, her sister, tries to guide and console her.

“Agu and Eze both stand on opposing ends of the conversation of religion. Agu [is] a crusader for tradition but is somehow still a church goer and Eze is stuck between proving himself traditionally as an Igbo man or following his father’s dreams to become a church priest. Ironically, Agu and Ada (both strangers) are caught up in the same mystical dream from a lifetime ago until they run into each other.”

Teaming up with Dutch wax company, Vlisco, and Nigerian photographer, Yagazie Emezi, the multimedia project also featured fashion designs created by Fruche and Gozel Green.

Watch Udara here:

 

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