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One Sunday Morning (1996)

Courtesy of National Film and Television School

Main image of One Sunday Morning (1996)
35mm, black and white, 20 min
DirectorEmmanuel Kurewa
Production CompanyNational Film And Television School
ProducerMyf Hopkins
Written byEmmanuel Kurewa
 Aileen Ritchie
CinematographySøren Bay

Cast: Oke Wambu (Mordecai); Lauretta Nkwocha (Margaret); Erica Hunter, Danielle Nichols (daughters); Michael Jempeji (preacher)

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The threat of deportation causes tension in the lives of a young Nigerian family.

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A student film from the National Film and Television School by Manu Kurewa, shot in cinema verité documentary style, One Sunday Morning (1997) takes a small story about people on the fringes of society and turns it into a bleak, existential drama. The choice to shoot in black and film underscores the stark dilemna facing the couple, as well as enabling stylistic flourishes.

Margaret and Mordecai's lives are punctuated by television newsreel of the capture and then state execution of Ken Saro-Wiwa, a political activist in their home country of Nigeria. The flickering light from the television and chilling soundtrack suggests at once the poetic and the banality of their lives. While outside their tenement flat, the chaotic streets of Brixton press in on their isolation.

One Sunday Morning is a striking, unforgettable film that casts the plight of asylum seekers in a humane light without moralising or ranting. Kurewa, originally from Zimbabwe and now based in Glasgow, followed this film with Small Love (2001) for Scottish television, a story about a singer with mental health problems, who teams up with Spike, a 15-year-old runaway.

Ann Ogidi

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Video Clips
1. 'You always say tomorrow' (1:48)
2. No further right of appeal (2:30)
3. Drumming (2:40)