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Nathaniel Bivan

It wouldn’t be out of place to say that Nigerians were eager for the release of ‘The Lost Café’ when it became public that Kenneth Gyang had directed it and that Norway-based filmmaker, Regina Udalor, had produced and scripted it.

Their eagerness could be attributed to several reasons. These include the track record of the duo, that it’s the first Norwegian/Nigerian film collaboration, the trailer and/or simply the unique storyline. Could the title ‘The Lost Café’ also have been responsible?

No matter what, after the movie’s premiere on September 2 in Drammen, Norway, a private screening was hosted at the Abuja residence of the Norwegian ambassador to Nigeria in on October 3. It was quite an experience.

From the opening scene, the couple Ose played by Tunde Aladese (AMVCA Best Supporting Actress nominee) and Hakeem played by Omatta Udalor (actor, model and dancer) gives you the impression of a relationship with a loose end. This isn’t because of what Ose’s so-called ‘relative,’ Efe says about them not openly showing affection, but the look Hakeem and Ose’s best friend share after being introduced.

Ose has a dream to study film directing in Norway. This almost creates a hitch in her relationship with Hakeem, who eventually gives his support. Already, if you are absorbed while watching, you wouldn’t need a soothsayer to tell you that the relati ...

It wouldn’t be out of place to say that Nigerians were eager for the release of ‘The Lost Café’ when it became public that Kenneth Gyang had directed it and that Norway-based filmmaker, Regina Udalor, had produced and scripted it.

Their eagerness could be attributed to several reasons. These include the track record of the duo, that it’s the first Norwegian/Nigerian film collaboration, the trailer and/or simply the unique storyline. Could the title ‘The Lost Café’ also have been responsible?

No matter what, after the movie’s premiere on September 2 in Drammen, Norway, a private screening was hosted at the Abuja residence of the Norwegian ambassador to Nigeria in on October 3. It was quite an experience.

From the opening scene, the couple Ose played by Tunde Aladese (AMVCA Best Supporting Actress nominee) and Hakeem played by Omatta Udalor (actor, model and dancer) gives you the impression of a relationship with a loose end. This isn’t because of what Ose’s so-called ‘relative,’ Efe says about them not openly showing affection, but the look Hakeem and Ose’s best friend share after being introduced.

Ose has a dream to study film directing in Norway. This almost creates a hitch in her relationship with Hakeem, who eventually gives his support. Already, if you are absorbed while watching, you wouldn’t need a soothsayer to tell you that the relationship is headed for the rocks. And it does immediately she sets foot in Norway.

Although ‘The Lost Café’ may appear to be a love story, it’s also an education. Perhaps not many Nigerians know that studying in Norway could be free, as is the case with Ose’s education. Plus, the classroom dialogue and that between Ose and her Norwegian classmate, where she points out that Nigerians know a lot about them and they don’t.

The clincher in ‘The Lost Café’ is the café Ose happens upon and continues to visit, where there’s great coffee, made by an elderly man who gives her timely relationship advice. This is when we learn that Ose’s family isn’t what it appears to be and that her so-called ‘relative’ is more than who Ose is made to believe she is. So these secrets are revealed in this coffee shop, which in itself would later become a mystery.

Several ingredients make this film worthwhile. The beautiful scenery and great soundtrack (a mix of both Norwegian and Nigerian music) thanks to Jeremiah Gyang, create a lasting impression. There’s more – the great act put up by the actors, particularly Aladese whose character is a perfect fit for the role.

But as is the case is with most films, not all is well, no, not even for ‘The Lost café.’ To avoid a major spoiler here though, Ose’s half nude scene was totally unnecessary and the elderly coffee shop owner had more to offer than was explored. In fact, every scene where he and Ose were talking makes the movie more engaging and suspenseful. So it was a surprise when the movie ended just after his ‘disappearance.’ This is not about a movie having a lose ending, rather, there’s a continuous empty feeling you get in several scenes, where you think, “Hey, there should be more.” However, overall, it was enjoyable and a wonderful excursion into two worlds. Certainly, even Norwegians would agree.

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