Faraday Okoro’s ‘Nigerian Prince’ closed the eighth edition of Africa International Film Festival (AFRIFF), but failed to give the audience cavities. The movie won the AT&T’s Untold Stories program — an initiative to support filmmakers that are underrepresented in the industry — at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival.
The film was met with mixed reactions as audience deliberated if the movie portrayed Nigeria in a good light or gave cinematic life to the long-held perception of Nigerians as corrupt people by the Westerners.
In essence, what Nigerian Prince did was to expose the underground politics in the scammers world, which interestingly shows the culpability of the police.
The story revolves around Eze, a Nigerian teenager who has lived most of his life in the US. Against his will, his mother sent him to Nigeria to live with her sister in order to learn the ways of his people.
But Eze has no plan to be identified with a country that is notorious for corruption. He got the first taste of the scamming business on arrival. At the airport, he was deceived by an immigration officer to pay extra fee for clearance of his luggage. Such experience made him to consistently tell whoever cares to listen that he is an American.
However, it was Eze’s cousin, Pius played by a US-based Nigerian Chinaza Uche that set the drama rolling. Pius was a scammer and a proud one. He never shies away from any challenge and has a way of sweet talking his victims, either by email or in person.
Pairing the reluctant Eze who wants to return to his country at all cost and Pius who is unrepentant in his crimes gave the movie the needed spice. Audience follows the characters as they navigate different situations to achieve their goals.
What unsettled most members of the audience was the funny accent of Pius. It was a struggle for the actor Uche who was raised in Edinburgh to deliver his lines in that familiar thick accent of Nigerians.
But what really got people talking was the way the story exposed the corruption of the police as well as their brutality. Pius is heavily protected by the police, who also get a cut from each transaction.
The audience argued that the film may run into problems with the censors board but the producers stated that they have crossed that water.
On whether the film does justice to Nigeria’s image, the producers insist that they are just telling a story.
Nevertheless, the film was praised for its cinematography and also has its moments of witty humour supplied by Eze, Pius and his mother Grace, played by Tina Mba.
Other known faces in the film include Bimbo Manuel and Gregory Ojefua.
The film which is already showing in the states will be released soon in Nigeria.