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Mami Wata

Sunday, Mar 19 at 7:30 pm

Location: Bartos Screening Room


Dir. C.J. “Fiery” Obasi. Nigeria. 2023, 107 mins. In West African pidgin with English subtitles. With Evelyne Ily Juhen, Uzoamaka Aniunoh, Kelechi Udegbe, Emeka Amakeze, Rita Edochie, Tough Bone. In the waters off the coast of West Africa swims the powerful mermaid goddess Mami Wata. Divining her whims and wishes falls to Mama Efe (Edochie), a revered intermediary for the townspeople of Iyi. But when a young boy dies of a virus, protégé Zinwe (Aniunoh) questions the legitimacy of both Efe and Mami Wata. Gathering doubts within the community lead to calls for a change of philosophy and leadership, which sets the table for armed conflict spearheaded by a mysterious ex-rebel fighter (Amakeze) who woos and betrays Efe’s devoted adopted daughter Prisca (Juhen). The two women are forced to fight for Iyi’s integrity and soul, the last defense against an invading wave of modernity. Though transportingly folkloric, Mami Wata is unmistakably conversant with contemporary incursions into traditional culture in Africa (and beyond). Director Obasi and cinematographer Lílis Soares electrify the eye with ultra-high contrast black-and-white photography and exacting, evocative, etching-like compositions. Winner, World Cinema Dramatic Competition Jury Prize for Cinematography, 2023 Sundance Film Festival. New York premiere 


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Tickets: $15 / $11 senior and students / $9 youth (ages 3–17) / discounted for MoMI members ($7–$11). Order tickets. Please pick up tickets at the Museum’s admissions desk upon arrival. All seating is general admission. Review safety protocols before your visit.

About the Filmmaker:

C.J. “Fiery” Obasi is a Nigerian film director, screenwriter, and editor. His debut film Ojuju (2014), premiered at the Africa International Film Festival, where it won Best Nigerian Film and went on to screen at other festivals worldwide. Hello, Rain (2018) premiered at Oberhausen and screened at 40 other festivals, winning a Jury Prize at Fantasia and the BFI Short Film Award nomination. Juju Stories (2021), an anthology film directed by the Surreal16 Collective, won the Boccalino D’oro Award for Best Film at Locarno. His third feature, Mami Wata (2023), won the World Cinema Dramatic Special Jury Award for Cinematography at Sundance.