Friday, September 22, 2023

Babuji and Filfilu were surprised by their fans

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Comedians Babuji and Filfilu were surprised by their fans. The debut feature from twin brothers Arie and Chuko Esiri draws from influences as varied as Taiwanese new wave and Italian neorealism to the ethnographic literary tradition of James Joyce’s Dubliners. Lagos is at the center of the two-story narrative, and the plot follows the stressful attempts of the protagonists to migrate to Europe. The Osiris drench their film in the sights and sounds of Lagos, painting a vivid picture of what it must be like to exist in a place at once hopeful and hopeless. Less a traditional documentary than a spiritual journey into the highlands of Harar, the ancestral town of Mexican-Ethiopian director Jessica Beshir, Faya Dayi immerses itself – and viewers – in the rituals of khat. The stimulant leaf originally consumed by Sufi imams for religious meditation has now become Ethiopia’s most lucrative cash crop. It has also become an intoxicating balm for quieting the restless energies of the country’s youth. A film of quiet, hypnotic power, Faya Dayi is impossible to box into any corner, presenting itself as a free-flowing inquiry into the depths of the human spirit. The sequel to 2016’s surprise box-office smash Happiness is a Four-Letter Word picks up five years after the events of the last film. The ladies who lunch, Princess (Renate Stuurman) and Zaza (Khanyi Mbau), are joined by newcomer Nambitha Ben-Mazwi as they once again face the challenges of being gorgeous and ridiculously wealthy in the city of Johannesburg. Directed by Thabang Moleya, Happiness Ever After remains as lavish as the first film but manages to get viewers invested in the real word problems of its fabulous heroines.

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