Really great things are coming out of the Nigerian short film genre. Perhaps because there is less pressure to recoup financial investments and there is a higher standard for personal excellence among amateur film makers, short films out of Nigeria tend to impress and tell the important stories in ways that conventional film hasn’t quite managed. There was the excellent Bariga Sugar and subversive Rahman and the exultant Monochrome, all diverse short films that touch on black identity in vastly different ways. Now you can add to 2016’s great offerings, the short film ‘Honey’.
Right off the bat Honey is not your conventional short film. For one, the director Olu Yomi Ososanya forgoes dialogue entirely in the short film, trusting that his lead Jennifer Nneoma Onwuegbwu will carry the film based on the force of her personality and through nuanced method acting. Onwuegbu succeeds, and the film, at a modest five minutes, is one you’ll be hard pressed to look away from.
The premise is simple at first, our lead, is part of a network of high prospect sex workers, at the very heart of a complicated system of pimps and agents and long term johns. You are not sure if she is merely a victim or a willing participant in the exploitation of her body. But then you find out it is more complicated than that, as all situations involving young women with personal agency are. There are no obvious tells, no signs pointing you to the film’s message, you have to parse it all yourself.
Ososanya, who has written for more overt shows like Africa Magic’s The Johnsons is flexing his screen writing and directing chops with Honey, and it is a great case for why he should be given the adequate funds to the make the kinds of independent art films he so clearly is born to make.
Watch ‘Honey’ here.