Gone Nine Months | Short Film
27
November

By Adem Lewis / in , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , /


(gentle guitar strumming) (engine rumbling) (birds chirping) (rooster crows) (children playing) (birds chirping) (gentle music) – Is anyone home? – Who is it? – [Delivery Man]
Express Parcel Service. Is this the home of
Mrs. Agnes Olajuwon? – Yes, but she’s not home. – I have a delivery for her. I’ll need you to sign for it. – Mom said we shouldn’t
open the door. What if it’s a letter bomb? (laughs) – It’s not a letter bomb. You live on a university campus, so your parents are
probably lecturers, not journalists or politicians. By the way, who would
want to send a letter bomb all the way from… France? – [Children] France! – I think it’s the fellowship
that Mommy applied for! – You’re right, you’re
right, you’re actually right! (happy squeals) – Thank you. – You’re beautiful and
I can’t stop think– Who is writing
you a love letter? I will tell. – Ehen, then I’ll also tell
that you’re still reading your romance novels that Mommy
told you to stop reading. Girls and guy! Come in here. (whining) Sharp! Go to your room. (whining) (gentle, dramatic music) – Kola, go and get me my bag. Thank you. (car beep) – [Kola] Daddy! (door shutting) – Welcome. – [Father] Mm-hmm. – Welcome, Daddy. – Mm-hmm. (click) – [TV Announcer] The
face off between the Academic Staff Union
of Universities, ASUU, and the Nigerian
military government continues as the strike– – [Children]
Welcome home, Daddy. – [Father] Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. – [TV Announcer] Students
have been unable to resume Harmattan semester, as lecturers demand better
working conditions– – The French
Institute responded. – Is that so? – Yes, they said they’re ready to sponsor my
postdoc for a year. They sent the document
for the visa interview. I really wish it
was the Americans, but this will have to do. – What’s for dinner? – Beans and plantain. I most likely
will be traveling to Lagos on Wednesday. – Agnes. Remember I told you, whatever
you want to do, do it. – [TV Announcer] Tune into
the news on SWTV Channel 5. More news after the break. (gentle music) – Isha, Isha. I’m leaving for the
embassy now, okay? Make sure you remember to pack
Kola’s inhaler in his bag, you know how the Harmattan
affects his asthma, all right? I’ve left your lunch
money on the dining table. You’re going to have to get
up in about half an hour. Don’t be late for school, okay? – Okay. – I’ll see you later, okay? – Okay, safe journey. – Thank you. – Where’s Mommy? – I told you already,
she went to Lagos. To the French Embassy. – Is Lagos very far? – Mm, about three hours away. – [Kola] When is
she coming back? – This evening. Now hurry up, we’re
going to be late. (splashing water) – Surprise! – What? The entire Maple High series! Where did you get them? – Remember my dad
went to London? My sister asked for perfume,
but I asked for this. – Yay! I get to read them first after. – [Girl] Of course. – My mom is going to France, she went to Lagos today
for a visa interview. I don’t know if they’ll have the Maple High
books there, though. – Even if they do,
it’ll be French. (dishes clinking) (water pouring) – When did your mother
say she’ll be back? – She said this evening. – This evening. (crickets chirping) (door locking) Isha, go to bed. – But Mommy isn’t back yet. – [Father] That’s your
mother’s problem, go to bed. (knocking) – Who is it? – Isha, it’s me. – Welcome. – Thank you. (door closing) The car broke down
on the expressway. We had to wait three hours
before a mechanic showed up. Ooh. – Did you get the visa? – No, I did not. (quiet chuckle) They said I could not
show sufficient proof that I would ever come back. (laughs) I told them, “My five
children are here. “My job is here.” And the letter says I’ll
only be away for nine months. I don’t understand
what more they want. You know, there was one man
there that they also rejected. He started shouting
and screaming, “Is your country heaven? “Eat your visa, eat your visa!” (laughter) – Can you ask the
French Institute to write you another letter? – I called them after
I left the embassy, but they had already closed. I’ll call them tomorrow. Speaking of tomorrow,
you should be in bed. You have school. – You mean today. – Abi o. Today. Oya, oya. Go and sleep. – Okay. Goodnight, Mom. – Goodnight, my dear. (sighs) – [Father] Who let you in? – [Mother] Pardon? – [Father] Who opened
the door for you? – [Mother] Your daughter, Isha. – [Father] My plan was
for you to sleep outside. – [Mother] Why would I– – [Father] Where are
you coming back from at this time of the night? – [Mother] Are you
actually serious? – [Father] How many married
women are coming back into their husband’s house
at this time of the night? – [Mother] Do you realize
that I was on the road? The car broke down– – [Father] Oh, spare me
that, the car broke down– – [Teacher] All right class, we’re still on the female
reproductive system. We have the ovary,
the fallopian tube, the uterus, and the vagina. You’ll have to graphically
represent these in your examinations. Do you understand? – [Classroom] Yes, sir. – [Teacher] Just a moment. Isha Olajuwon, you are
needed at the dispensary. (children playing) – Oumou, what happened? Good morning Nurse Adewale. Please, what happened? – Oumou, please wait outside. Let me talk to your sister. [Nurse] Sit down. Does your sister
have a boyfriend? – [Isha] No, our
parents don’t let any boys come to our house. – There are other
places to meet boys. – [Isha] Ma, I don’t understand. – [Nurse] Isha, your
sister is pregnant. – [Isha] What? That
can’t be possible. We never go anywhere. – [Nurse] Well, she is. I have to tell your parents. – Ma, please. I’d rather tell them myself. It’d be better that way. – Well, I have known
you and your sister since you were babies. But if you don’t tell
your parents soon, I will. (crying) – Please don’t tell. – How in the world
did you get pregnant? Did one of your romance
novel characters step out and seduce you? I thought you were
afraid of boys. You’re going to get us
all in trouble for this. Daddy’s going to take
it out on all of us. Mom, me. I have to tell. What are we going to do
when your belly grows big? (crying) (rumbling engine) (doors slamming) – [Children] Bye. – [Kola] Where’s Mom? – Remember I told you she had
to go back to Lagos today. She’s trying to get her
visa from the embassy. – [Kola] If she get her
visa, will she go to France? – Yes, she will go to France. – Do we need to
get a visa, too? – No, ’cause we’re not going. (door shutting) – Didn’t you know
the French Embassy is the most wicked
of all the embassies? – Ugh, my sister, I did
not realize until now. Can you imagine, the
French Institute director faxed two letters
of appeal to them. And they still
won’t give it to me. I don’t understand. I’m tired of the whole thing. – Maybe we should wait
to hear from America. Hopefully it will be positive. Or you continue to look
for other fellowships. – Ehn? – Tobi, I need to
get out of here. I feel like I’m
going to lose my mind and end up in a mental
institution at this rate. Okay, remember that time when
you had to go to South Korea? Wasn’t it your husband
that was helping you do all the running around? Tunde, he will not
help me with anything. I don’t understand. He travels all the time. Now that I’m the one
that wants to travel, it’s as if it’s annoying him. Anytime I want to do
something for myself, have something for myself,
he’s never supportive. – Don’t worry. Let’s just hope the
American one comes through. (crickets chirping) – With all this visa trouble,
maybe we should wait. – Yes, that’s
probably a good idea. – We can’t wait too long, Oumou. It’s like a bad grade. They’ll find out eventually
when the report card comes. And if they know that I knew, that would be double
trouble for me. Besides, Nurse Adewale could
show up any moment now. – I know, but– – Okay, okay, fine. Maybe we give it a few days. Maybe if the French
Embassy gives her a visa, then she’ll be
in a better mood. – Okay. ♪ Darling Jesus, darling Jesus, ♪ Oh my darling Jesus,
you’re a wonderful God ♪ I love you so– (screaming) Ah, kids! The American Institute
of Geophysics has approved my application! (cheering) They have sent the documents
I’m going to need for my visa. (kissing) – Does this mean you’re
going to go to America? – I hope so, I still have
to go and do the interview. But at least the
American Embassy is nicer than that French one, isn’t it? – Oh, I hope you get the visa! – [Children] Me, too! – Thank you, thank
you, thank you, thank you, thank you, everybody. Oya, change, change, change. Go and change, go and change. Two of you, once you
are changed, kitchen. ♪ Darling Jesus, darling Jesus (squealing) ♪ I love you so – [Oumou] I definitely
can’t tell her now. – [Isha] Why not? – She’s happy. I can’t spoil her mood. I’ll tell her when
she gets her visa. – If she gets her visa. – If she gets it, then maybe she won’t mind so much
that I’m pregnant. – Well, you know who will mind. And, she’ll mind if he minds. Besides, I don’t know
how he’s going to handle being left with a
pregnant daughter. – Maybe I should wait until
she goes to America or France. – No, you have to tell her. – I’ll tell her when she comes
back from Lagos tomorrow. – Sweets for everybody. – [Children] Thank you, Mommy! – Congratulations on your visa to the United States of America. – Thank you my
darling, thank you. Oumou, what’s the matter? Aren’t you happy that
I’ve gotten my visa? – Of course I’m happy, Mom. I’m just sad that you’ll
be going away from us. – But I’ll only be
gone nine months. And you know what? I’ll save up my stipend so that I can bring back lots
of gifts for everybody. I know Ama and Katsina
need new shoes. – I want shoes, too! – You do, okay. – I want blue jeans,
and green jeans, and yellow jeans,
and purple jeans. That’s what everybody
wears now, colored jeans. – Okay, “Ma”, I will
see what I can do. (happy chuckling) I got my American visa today. – [Tunde] Congratulations. – I talked to the travel agent. They need me to be there
in two weeks’ time. – That’s not enough time. Have you prepared the children? Have you taught them
how to take care of the house when you’re gone? – I’ve spoken with my mother. She’s willing to come and stay for a month or two
after I’m gone. – Your mother cannot stay here. – It’s for the children,
until they’ve adjusted. (sighs) (gentle piano music) (crumpling paper) – [Oumou Voiceover] Dear
Mom, I have done something that will disappoint
you and make you sad. I couldn’t tell you in person, and so I have decided
to write you a letter. I am pregnant. Please forgive me. I never wanted to hurt you. Love, Oumou. (paper tearing) (sorrowful piano music) (door unlocking) – I’ve told her to
stop parking behind me. Agnes! Oumou! (sorrowful music) (crying) (crying) No one is going to America
now, that’s for sure. (sorrowful music) (“Gbagbe (Dimentica)”
by Lola Okusami)


37 thoughts on “Gone Nine Months | Short Film

  1. Hi Lola,
    I love it, I love It. I was beautifully shot. I Love the song "Gbagbe"!!!!!. Your voice is amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Congratulations Lola, It can only get bigger from here.

  2. Great job Lola.. my attention was capitivated at the first scene!!! So proud of you girl… keep following your heart.

  3. I love this…especially the authenticity of the story and the nuances that don't have to be spoken out loud but was felt throughout the film. Love it!

  4. Lola, this is really captivating. I enjoyed it. Well captured, you're just beginning . We surely are going to hear more about you if you keep the dream aglow.

  5. Nice work Lola. Well written story which really got beneath the issues that families face. Hope you're going to send this to short film festivals globally. Love the lead actress by the way.

  6. This was really interesting. I wish it could have been longer. I really enjoyed seeing the family dynamic and i wondered what the story behind the husband and wife was. Fantastic job! and the hairstyles- talk about nostalgia. I loved it.

  7. This was exceptionally done. Dialogue, costumes, set, storyline, acting, suspense it was all on point. You have an amazing gift! Please continue to share it with the world!

  8. Lola so you have this type of talent and you have been "coding" yourself all this while. Excellent work indeed, I am proud of you. Tundes face captures the severity of the Abacha regime, fathers were not smiling.

  9. I am broken and strengthened and in awe and broken again all at the same time. Beautiful and legitimate art direction. Lola I don't know you but I hope the sequel is already in the works. A powerful short yet simple story of NOW!!! chai. Chai

  10. I like this because it is a loaded story simply &  poignantly told. A short story? or an introductory passage? What I do know is it poses a no of questions that remain unanswered. What is the backstory? Why is the man so angry? The wife seems somewhat apologetic, why? Is it a commentary on Nigerian male chauvinism or paternalism? questions & even more questions. Looking forward to more.

  11. Wow, Powerful Lola. I can see your influence through this script and your natural talent for bringing out certain realities we would rather be blind to or not discuss in a subtle manner. The family dynamics is a true depiction of most African homes with an undertone of patriarchal ideologies, the one sided view and approach to teenage pregnancy. Good job, I owe you dinner. Name your cravings. Lol

  12. Very familiar scenes……interesting story line….. Your cast was good too. Pls keep it up,I'm proud of this

  13. I love the film, I even cried when her mom cried because her dreams was destroyed for her daughter bad decisions. :'-(

  14. this is a beautiful work. so much so succinctly said. the sacrifice of mothers is invaluable.

  15. Stumbled upon this short & I’m in awe. Beautiful short Lola. Speaks volumes on the African family dynamic – the burdens of the first child, the sacrifice of a mother and the patriarchal expectations of a father. Continue creating.

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