There’s something unique about most of Kunle Afolayan’s productions. They often evoke nostalgia about the good old Nigerian society and you just can’t but pat him on the back for that. Take a quick look at some of his works like Irapada, The Figurine, Phone Swap, October 1, The CEO, Mokalik, and Citation, and you will see he takes viewers through the realm of culture, tradition, belief and as much, explores morals from the entertainment point of view. His latest film, “Swallow”, premieres October 1 on Netflix streaming platform.
A glimpse into ‘Swallow’ shows Afolayan opts for a retro film look that pays perfect homage to a nostalgic past and this cinematic catch will take viewers on a memorable ride, going by the official trailer for the screen adaptation of Sefi Atta’s novel with the same title. With throwback images, the trailer gives viewers a feel and taste of what to expect from the riveting drama-thriller written by Atta and Afolayan. Like having to reenact most of the architectural aesthetics of old Lagos, especially the Portuguese designs with details of what the city was like in that period.
Set in mid-1980s, the film explores drug trafficking, workplace sexual harassment and poverty amidst the weight of austerity measures and the infamous War Against Indiscipline.
This is the first film from Afolayan’s three-film deal with Netflix, announced back in March 2021. It’s also his very first adaptation. Talking about how he approached making his first film adaptation, Afolayan said: “Once I read the book, I had to decide on what aspect of the book I wanted to focus on and whose perspective I wanted to share based on the story because Swallow as a book focused on the life of Tolani’s mother and Tolani herself. Once that was sorted, every other thing was put in place.”
He adds: “Reading the book gives you an idea of what the movie will be like and in a way it helps; in another way, it could be difficult because if the book is misrepresented or downplayed, then it would be terrible. Usually, people prefer the book to the film but I hope the reverse is the case this time.” ‘Swallow’ gives a feature film debut to musician Eniola ‘Niyola’ Akinbo in the lead role of Tolani Ajao – a bright-eyed young woman who tries to make it in the obstacle ridden Lagos.
After a series of career woes as a secretary, she considers a drug trafficking offer from her roommate Rose Adamson. She stars alongside Ijeoma Grace Agu, Chioma Akpotha, Deyemi Okanlawon, Omotunde Adebowale, Eniola Badmus, Mercy Aigbe, Kelvin Ikeduba, and Big Brother Naija reality star Anthony Edet (Thin Tall Tony).