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RESTLESS CITY: The African Hustle

My friend, noted Nigerian photographer, Creative Director and filmmaker Andrew Dosunmu has never shied away from Africa while running the streets of New York City. He has always embraced the duality of living with one foot in each world: revering the best of both, while shedding light on the unspoken in his own mesmerizing way. Enter his latest film, Restless City…

Words: Aimstar
Images: Jenny Baptiste courtesy of Clam Productions

To call Andrew Dosunmu’s film,Restless City, a classic, is not entirely fair. There is no marker or precedent to compare it to and to be quite honest, it goes beyond what one would expect. Albeit Dosunmu has shot for a few fave print mags; published The African Game, a collaborative book with Puma via Powerhouse Books; directed a few episodes of Yizo, Yizo, a television show on the “policy debates around education in post-apartheid South Africa”; and has even won Best Documentary for his debut film Hot Irons at FESPACO and Reel Award Toronto, but Restless City is a new Nollywood high.

There has never been a film, at least not during my lifetime, that has come from the perspective of 20 and 30-something African immigrants, who defy all laws of what prior films about Africans have led you to believe. And I can hardly imagine another film having such perfect timing and impact on multiple, distinct and very different paradigms simultaneously around the world anytime soon. Using the story of Young Djibril, a young West-African who moves stateside (Harlem to be exact) to launch his career as a musician, Restless City not only illustrates the inner and outer turmoil of an artist’s come-up, but dives head first into true African-American urban scenes, the underground and the reserved exclusively for Africans. And wow, how this film makes West Africans look cool?!

While watching the film kind of resuscitates that feeling you had after watching Fernando Meirelles and K├ítia Lund’s City of God (2002) for the the first time, coupled with the shifting moods set on by Larry Clark’s 1995 cult winner Kids and the audacity of Hype Williams’ Belly, there really is nothing like Restless City stylistically, either. Director Andrew Dosunmu employed Pariah‘s Bradford Young as cinematographer on the film and The Fader‘s Style Editor Mobolaji Dawodu on wardrobe, a collaborative effort by the three that proved that stunning visuals added to an already superb script never fails. Multiply the conscious factor of having an all-star cast and crew from the African disapora including model-turned- actor newcomer Sy Alassane (Djibril), and you will never look at Africa here or abroad the same.

Restless City is now playing at the Urban World Film Festival. www.Urbanworld.org Screenings are at:Friday Sept 16th @ 7PM — AMC 34th St Theater 12 (312 W. 34th St., New York, NY 10001) Saturday Sept. 17th @ 1:45PM — AMC 34th St Theater 9 (312 W. 34th St., New York, NY 10001)

Images by Jenny Baptiste courtesy of Clam Productions.

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