Juju Stories tackles juju in contemporary Lagos through three stories. In Love Potion, by Omonua, an unmarried woman agrees to use juju to find herself an ideal mate. In Yam, by Makama, consequences arise when a street urchin picks up seemingly random money from the roadside. In Suffer the Witch, by Obasi, love and friendship turns into obsession, when a young college woman attracts her crush's interest.
This is a far from perfect film: the dialogue is sometimes mechanical and the pacing is uneven at some points, but it is a film with genuine character. The stories are not new and they will still be told to generations to come, but the Surreal16 have managed to take their visions of them and hold them in the amber of screen creating an anthology that is distinct, honest, and supernatural.
Juju Stories is an anthology film offering a trio of exciting but somewhat unfocused modern day dark fairytales, rooted in the juju of Nigerian urban legends. Although the three stories are produced on obviously quite minimal budgets, each story's director manages to punch above their weight with their own sense of style filled with plenty of cinematic references and imitations. However, these stories generally struggle to convey this style into thought-provoking narratives, nor a truly magical sense of atmosphere.
Entertaining horror anthology featuring some interesting short stories. The settings and stories themselves definitely make up for the rather conventional style, overall it's rather rough around the edges ?
Directed by Michael Omonua, C. J. Obasi, and Abba Makama (collectively known as the Surreal 16), this three part feature film tells the story of a woman who uses juju to capture her perfect partner in Love Potion, a man who bears supernatural consequences after picking money from the road in Yam, and a woman who will go to any lengths to keep her friendship in Suffer the Witch. None of these stories are particularly new, but in the tradition of passing them down, the directors have created their versions for the screen.
Produced by Oge Obasi, Juju Stories is helmed by Surreal16, a collective of three independent, new wave writer-directors, with each of them handling one of the three short films, stylised as chapters. The three chapters are connected only by juju (supernatural, magical power), each one exploring separate Nigerian urban legends. All three stories are anchored on ordinary, unassuming characters in a Nigeria where modernity almost comfortably co-exists with the supernatural past. And while the stories rarely progress chronologically, they remain easy to follow.
In the other two stories, a young person living on the street turns into a yam shortly after picking up some money seemingly left on the roadside, and a naïve student grapples with the gradual realisation that her roommate might be a witch.
Despite the great churn of comedies and romantic dramas since the cinema revolution, horror and the speculative have been burning as a small, inextinguishable flame throughout C.J. Obasi's work. The Nigerian director has been keenly consistent with the genre, from his 2014 feature debut, Ojuju, a zombie thriller set in Nigeria, to the Africanfuturistic appeal of Hello, Rain,released in 2018. Obasi always tries to use horror to exam social plights or conditions. (For Ojuju and Hello Rain, those conditions are safe drinking water for public use and demystifying juju, respectively.)
Still on its international film festival run, Juju Stories exhumes Nigerian urban legend and folklore as a storytelling pivot. It's also about the mysticism of juju, sitting in the tension between fear and fascination. In Suffer the Witch, Obasi's film in the anthology, queerness and witchcraft deliciously intersect. In university, a young woman harbors suspicions about her roommate being a witch. The events that follow is a cascade of discoveries that shakes the human imagination.
I think good stories tend to do that. When you make a film, you try to tell a personal story that will hopefully resonate universally. Juju is specific to Nigeria/Africa, but the philosophy and ideas around it are universal.
Central to the narrative plot of Juju Stories is the exploration of Nigerian folklore, myths and urban legend. These stories have been buried as the Nigerian film industry mainstreamed itself along with global updates (cinema, streaming, etc). But we live in a new generation where many may not be aware of such age-old beliefs. How did you balance the integrity of these folk stories with expectations of modern storytelling?
I don't hope to infiltrate more mainstream cinemas. I will infiltrate more mainstream cinemas. It's the inevitability of our stories. It has less to do with me and more about the collective like us, willing to do the work.
A three-part anthology film exploring stories rooted in Nigerian folklore and urban legend written and directed by C.J. Obasi, Abba Makama and Michael Omonua.
Content Warning: This film contains some bloody scenes and references to assaultA three-part anthology film exploring modern-day juju (magical) stories rooted in Nigerian folklore and urban legend, written and directed by the new Nigerian new wave cinema collective known as Surreal16. Juju Stories tackles juju in contemporary Lagos through three stories. This is the first-ever Franco-Nigerian co-production. In Love Potion, by Michael Omonua, an unmarried woman agrees to use juju to find herself an ideal mate.
EbonyStory.com is the best place to read and share fresh interesting African stories online. Starting from Romance stories, Adventure stories, Action stories, Spiritual stories, Horror stories and many more. All our stories are free and no signup required to start reading. We have wonderful writers that are ever ready to give you the latest interesting stories with moral lessons to keep you smiling all day. 041b061a72