United Kingdom - 87 min - Fiction
British-Nigerian filmmaker Adura Onashile lives and works in Glasgow, Scotland
Making the film Girl
“For me, it's very political because Black characters are not often afforded reality like that. It's [usually] like, What's happening? Where's the drama? Where's the trauma? And it was so lovely to be able to go let's just linger as much as we can. Because that in itself, just asking people to look at these people, to look at this mother and daughter in a 360-degree way, felt like really political but life-enhancing act.”
Casting the actor Déborah Lukumuena
“I was absolutely in awe of the way she was able to hold all of this complexity in stillness. I think she's a phenomenal, phenomenal actor. But what she also is, is an artist. She's always looking at the work in terms of the deeper aspect of what it's trying to say, and that was really important.”
(Interview with Adura Onashile by Nadia Neophytou: https://www.okayafrica.com/sundance-2023-adura-onashile/)
Mother-daughter duo Grace and Ama have established a deep bond that’s protected them from outsiders, but as they start anew in Glasgow, things begin to change. Ama’s burgeoning puberty and curiosity set off reminders of a past that 24-year-old Grace has been running from. The comforting fairytale-like origin story that Grace has been telling Ama for years is interrupted by flashbacks of her painful past — their sheltered world begins to erode from the inside.
Adura Onashile’s debut feature is an impressively delicate story about trauma and coming-of-age. Where Grace is stunned and paralyzed outside of their safe nest, Ama blossoms, exploring the world with new friend Fiona. Onashile’s compassionate handling of Grace’s trauma takes an impressionist approach, deftly revealing just enough details. Déborah Lukumuena’s portrayal of Grace is sensitive and arresting, while an intimate camera and choral score heighten the evocative experience of the pair’s dueling realities. Onashile has crafted a poignant story about healing and the painful sacrifices that are sometimes needed to love ourselves and those closest to us.
Image and Text Sundance