Two unique and immensely compelling titles are coming to Bohemia Euphoria this month! The first is Flatland, directed by Jenna Bass. Flatland is a feminist and intersectional drama set in South Africa. Filled with pastel naturalistic cinematography, the film teases freedom and conveys social-economic privilege through a very hyper-masculine, crime-fuelled getaway, which is exciting yet deeply disturbing. This indie film premieres on our streaming platform on the 17th August.
Premiering on the 31st of August is Segilola Ogidan’s directorial debut Tainted Canvas, which follows the story of Rayo, a Nigerian artist trying to make a success of millennial immigrant life in London. When Rayo receives a call from Nigeria informing her of her mother’s admission to hospital, she is torn between meeting her gallery deadlines and going back home to face the trauma she ran away from in the first place.
Both films explore the notions of female autonomy, purity politics and the struggle that comes with women attempting to reclaim control of their bodies. They also dissect the nature of intersectional relationships and address what it means to discover one’s femininity and truly find freedom, primarily in the context of African societies. Flatland unpacks the burdens of being a woman through three major characters. The protagonist Natalie, her precocious yet naive adopted sister Poppie and police captain Beauty Cuba, whose desires directly conflict with that of the two other girls. This is also true of Tainted Canvas, in which child abuse and rape are explored through the protagonist Rayo’s story, while themes of domestic violence and other typically taboo topics are brought to light when we find out the truth about her mother Rose.
Let’s get into why Flatland is such a must-watch film (minor spoilers from here on):
• It shows, quite vividly, the challenges of racial division. Refusing to brush the legacy of the apartheid under the carpet, the audience bears witness to the country’s attitude towards race and how this affects Natalie and Poppie’s relationship. Do not be surprised if you hear the “K” word (an offensive racial slur in Afrikaans) at least a few times.
• The film boasts several exciting moments – Hair dyes while on the run, a shoot-out in a bar, the theft of a car to escape a loveless, abusive marriage…
• Without coming off as didactic, Flatland depicts dark subject matter (e.g. marital rape, manslaughter, domestic violence and sexual abuse) in a manner so unfiltered that it leaves you revolted at the state of the world.
• Questions about beauty standards and what it means to be a woman are posed. Wigs, or natural hair? Hairless legs or not? How should women conduct themselves? How do they feel about their bodies? And with three strong, starkly contrasting female characters, we get to see varied angles of these age-old debates.
• There are hundreds of films out in the world about going on the run, but how many set in the 21st century see characters make their journey to freedom on horseback?
If you like the sound of Flatland, we’re positive you’re going to love Tainted Canvas also.
• It takes a look at childhood trauma and abuse and how it manifests in the person’s life further down the line; from flashbacks and vivid dreams to a valid aversion to pursuing romantic relationships.
• Unsurprisingly, the Nollywood film also portrays the power of confronting that abuse for better or worse to ease the journey towards healing, whether it be asking questions or expressing deep sentiments without the fear of appearing to be vulnerable. In the end, becoming free of the limitations placed on us by our family, circumstances and society as a whole is the goal.
• Tainted Canvas explores the dynamic of a highly dysfunctional family, including notions of distrust, infidelity, domestic violence and postpartum depression.
Stay tuned and stream our current selection of movies, trailers and exclusive interviews and Q&As on Bohemia Euphoria. You can also post on our community channel and read articles, like this one, about our brilliant indie films!