Last year, Andrew Dosunmu’s Restless City generated quite the buzz on the festival circuit, securing a limited release in theaters and establishing the former fashion photographer as one of the most exciting new voices in film. At Sundance, the Nigerian-born Donsunmu continues in this tradition with Mother of George, his second feature film, once again examining the complicated lives of African immigrants in America.
The film begins in a swirl of color and movement with the traditional Nigerian wedding of Adenike (Danai Gurira) and Ayodele (Isaach De Bankole), who receive a special blessing from the groom’s outspoken mother (Bukky Ajayi) for the future conception of a child. But over a year after the union, Adenike is frustrated and ashamed when the couple fails to conceive. Culturally, it’s her “fault”, and she feels the pressure acutely. Her husband, indifferent and ineffectual, is unwilling to address the issue at all.
In desperation, Adenike mulls over the advice of an aunt who suggests she secretly conceive a child with Ayodele’s brother Biyi (Tony Okungbowa). What transpires is a performance by Gurira that perhaps in the hands of any other director might seem over the top, but here is displayed with an overwhelmingly raw sense of honesty. Gurira, eerily luminescent in every frame, perfectly captures a part of the African experience - the struggle to reconcile tradition and heritage with modern, Western point-of-view…
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