The Lost Okoroshi (Abba Makama, Nigeria) — Discovery

By Brendan Boyle

Director Abba Makama displays an array of tones in his Lagos odyssey The Lost Okoroshi, which follows Raymond Obinwa (Seun Ajayi), a shiftless security worker who commutes to the city and, one morning, finds himself transformed in his bed into the voiceless purple spirit of his dreams. Stricken mute by his transformation, Raymond becomes both witness to and symbol of the tensions between Nigeria’s indigenous traditions and its rapid modernization; in the most memorable comic passage, a men’s organization called the Igbo Peoples Secret Society of Heritage Restoration and Reclamation  (or IPSSHRR, which is proudly emblazoned on their T-shirts) kidnaps the spirit and debates whether he should remain in the city or be returned to their headquarters in the rural east. (As in the rest of the film, this scene brims with colour, the red and blue of the IPSSHRR uniform rendered in the striking, symmetrical visual style of cinematographer Mike Omonua.) The IPSSHRR passage follows Raymond’s trip to a club with a pair of sex workers, as well as a boy obsessed with entering the world of “entertainment,” whose errand serves as the centrepiece of this voyage into modern Lagos. This scene, as well as early montages of Raymond’s dreams, suggest a film dominated by music and dance, but The Lost Okoroshi ultimately becomes a stranger and more ambivalent vision with every accumulated image and incident.

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