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This (short) short film is a snapshot into the life of Lagos’ magical bourgeoisie

Witches? Check. Fashion? Check. Luxury? Check. This eerie Lagos-based short film has everything.

29 May 2021

Director/Filmmaker Wami Aluko transports us to the delirious heat of Nigeria’s creative epicentre, Lagos, through this fantasy fashion film, Thicker than Water. We meet three sisters who have recently lost their parents to a devastating mansion fire in Illesha, a city in the south West of the country. 

Their names are Aduke, Abike, and Anike, which in Yoruba means Beloved, born to treasure, and to pamper too much, respectively. Draped in finery and lazing in their new home, they are evidently still basking in blessings, having inherited their parent’s fortune. As they are seen lighting candles and connecting to them from beyond the grave, the film takes a mystical turn as they reveal why they don’t grieve. “We come from a bloodline of incredibly masterful witches and spiritual practitioners,” they say. Essentially their communication with ancestors never stops. 

Rumours have already been spread around the city about them and their family, their wealth, their faith and their psychic abilities. “They often manufactured stories such as how their parents signed contracts with the devil to amass all their wealth,” writes Wami. “For this reason, the Digiola’s really only had each other, forcing them to build such a strong familial bond. The saying, ‘blood is thicker than water’ was embedded in the sister’s heads by their late mother who taught them to always stick together.”

Wami herself plays a journalist who visits them to find out more about the new girls in town. A reverence for ancestral spiritual connection is not uncommon in Nigeria, and Wami personally finds peace in tarot. Wami tells gal-dem she wants to “highlight the magic of the mundane”. She splits her time between filmmaking and photography, previously publishing a documentary on the impact of music on Nigerian youth and shooting a dreamy editorial for Vogue Italia on the relationship between dance, spirtuality, and freedom for black women. She’s exhibited works in Edinburgh, London and Lagos and been appeared in BBC Africa, Sukeban Magazine, Konbini, Punch newspaper.

The three sisters are played by local ones to watch: creative director Momo Mho (who also styled the film), Ifeoma Nwobu, who is a writer, model and YouTuber and Nneamaka Chukwuemeka. Ayopo Abiri did the make-up.

Be bewitched by this mystical short above.