Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje’s film, “Farming”, shields light on the farming phenomenon that existed between the 1960s and 1980s.
The coming-of-age film explains how Nigerian children were fostered out by their parents to white working-class families. Their parents worked and studied, sending money to foster parents to look after their children.
The film opens to Femi (played by Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) and wife Tolu (Genevieve Nnaji) taking their six-weeks-old son, Enitan, to Ingrid Carpenter (Kate Beckinsale).
If you haven’t seen the film yet, now is the time to be wary of spoilers.
Enitan is a quiet child who only says a few words. He lives in his imaginary world as he does his best to secure the love of his foster mother, Ingrid.
At age eight, his parents come to take him back to Nigeria. Nigeria is a whole new terrain for him, making it difficult to adapt. He is then made to go through spiritual cleansing. This cleansing involves incision on his body and a strict warning from the “Alfa”(Muslim cleric) that he must not return back to England.
After spending six months in Nigeria, Eniola refuses to speak a word. His parents do their best to help him adapt to the environment until, one day, he fights his teacher.
His father thereafter takes him back to England to live with Ingrid. At the age of 16, Enitan faces initiation into a notorious racist gang called Tilbury Skins after a series of assaults for its members. However, he gets into trouble with the authorities when he kills the leader of the gang. He will need the help of Miss Constance, his teacher, to lead him back to the right path as he lost his way years ago as a kid.
Adewale Akinnuoye Agbaje did a good job choosing the cast of this film. Genevieve Nnaji did a good job acting as Eniola’s mother. It was beautiful to see her act the Yoruba wife, her emotions erupting when she has to give away her child.
We can’t forget the role of little Enitan (Zephan Hanson Amissah) whose expressions and mannerism are well suited for the role. Miss Constance (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) is the quiet teacher that helps to reform Enitan.
Damson Idris did a perfect job of acting the older Enitan. The young man, full of strength, feels lost in a white community. He ends up seeking validation in the wrong place.
With the impressive cinematography, it is at first hard to believe that the film tells Agbaje’s true-life story. However, we also notice that the director sort of drags the story at the point Enitan meets the gang. Nevertheless, it is these scenes of violence that buttress Enitan’s struggles growing up.
Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje had his directorial debut with “Farming”, and as such some errors are forgivable. Prior to “Farming”, he has played several major film roles in Hollywood. This includes the role of Kurse in Marvel Studio’s “Thor”, and his role as Simon Adebisi on “Oz”.
“Farming” had its private screening in Nigeria on 19th October 2019. It is presently showing in cinemas nationwide. Take a look at the film and let us know what you think.