August 21, 2020
A new Nigerian film called Ife depicts a lesbian love story and is being censored within the filmmakers’ home country.
Love stories are some of the most popular genres of film. Over the years, they’ve been hugely impactful in how we perceive relationships within the mainstream. And because cinema is one of our most powerful empathy machines, seeing interracial couples, same-sex couples, and generally diverse couples have helped society move forward.
But that’s not the case all over the world.
In Nigeria, same-sex relationships are theoretically punishable by up to 14 years in prison.
Nollywood, a colloquial term for Nigeria’s film industry, is not only one of the world’s largest producers of film but also has an important role to play in the country’s public perceptions of LGBTQ individuals. (LGBTQ characters and stories are usually bias or shown as evil.)
Ife—which means “love” in the Yoruba language—is a movie determined to take on this unjust law and show a love story that may help change social stigma in Nigeria. But that may never happen if it is censored inside the country.