By Michael Kolawole
Unveiling a cinematic masterpiece that’s been four years in the making, Netflix Naija proudly presents The Black Book.
Prepared under the skilled direction and production of Editi Effiong’s Anakle Films, this million-dollar film has journeyed through time, germinating before the pandemic’s shadow descended upon us. Set against the backdrop of Lagos, the bustling heart of Nigeria, the film’s creation paralleled the world’s emergence from the clutches of COVID-19.
The film follows a gripping narrative of Paul Edima, a man whose heart-wrenching quest for justice propels him into a realm of darkness. Stricken by the loss of his only son, taken by corrupt enforcers of the law, Paul’s unquenchable thirst for revenge uncovers a maze of secrets from his enigmatic past. A past tainted by his involvement in the military, a chapter he must reluctantly revisit to orchestrate his vendetta.
But there’s more to this tale than vengeance alone. It’s a dance of shadows, an intricate choreography that weaves Paul’s history into the very fabric of Nigeria’s tumultuous past. Journey back to the gritty days of the 80s, when the nation’s connection to the underworld of drugs cast a sinister hue over its landscape.
Intriguingly, Editi Effiong shares, “Nigeria’s tangled history with drug trafficking finds its canvas in The Black Book, painting a vivid picture of the 80s events whose echoes ripple through our present. In this symphony of light and darkness, we also honor the resilience of our youth, who’ve borne the scars of such violence.”
At the heart of this film stands Richard Mofe Damijo, whose portrayal of the grief-stricken father seeking redemption. According to the director, it took months of rigorous training and a transformative diet to sculpt Mofe Damijo into embodying the character’s essence — a testament to the dedication that breathed life into the role.
Editi Effiong, known for his debut short film, Fishbone (2020), and notable co-productions like Up North, Day of Destiny, and The Set Up, drawn by the story’s seriousness, crafts a visionary narrative that demands nothing short of complete immersion.
This audacious journey, touted as the most complex venture in Nigeria’s filmmaking history, leads Effiong to collaborate with the talented Kemi Lala-Akindoju. Together, they plan to elevate the art form, pushing boundaries to forge a unique creative legacy.
Highlighted alongside other luminaries during the “Light, Camera, and Naija” gala, The Black Book stands tall among the constellation of cinematic marvels. Amidst sequels and sagas, it emerges as a star, poised to dazzle the global audience on September 22. Brace yourself for an ensemble cast that reads like a who’s who of talent — from Sam Dede to Alex Usifo, Taito Ajai-Lycett to Denola Grey, and an array of luminaries who infuse every frame with their brilliance.
Mark your calendar for September 22, when The Black Book descends upon Netflix as a global spectacle, a saga of shadows and redemption meticulously woven into the fabric of Nigeria’s history and its undying spirit.