Fred, unemployed graduate like many young Nigerians, is starting a new job as a taxi driver. As for Akin, he taxes commercial vehicles for the national transport union. They both operate in the rich urban landscape of Ibadan, in which Alain Kassanda’s camera choreographs the multiplicity and perpetual power relations at play.
Special mention - Visions du Réel 2020
International Medium Length & Short Film Competition
It’s quite a challenge to capture the vitality of a Nigerian city. It involves delving deep into the urban chaos to detect the dynamics. “A soul that does not eat pepper is a powerless soul” says the Yoruba proverb: Fred and Akin get by with odd jobs to the sound of the traffic amidst the indiscriminate violence of the class struggle. Like Fela Kuti singing the famous Trouble Sleep Yanga Wake Am, this film that borrows its title multiplies the close-ups and metonymies. Its Afrobeat skirts around the story to highlight the saturation and excess that regurgitate the condition of the oppressed. Pollution, asphyxia, solitude – all that’s left is to rely on God. Unless you decide to follow the programme of the revolutionary Fela: "Waking him dey find - Palaver, he go get!"
Film critic and editor for Africultures
Programmer of an art-house cinema for five years in the suburbs of Paris, Alain Kassanda then moved to Ibadan, in southwestern Nigeria, from 2015 to 2019. Trouble Sleep, his first documentary film, is the starting point of a triptych dedicated to Ibadan.