Ngozi Onwurah  

Black British filmmaker Ngozi Onwurah takes on the issues of time and space in her work which embraces heterogeneity and multiple sites of subjectivity. Onwurah consistently navigates and challenges the limits of narrative and ethnographic cinema by insisting that the body is the central landscape of an anti-imperialist cinematic discourse.

An accomplished director with several episodes of the top British TV drama series "Heartbeat" to her credit, Ngozi Onwurah also wrote and directed the prize-winning feature "Welcome II the Terrordome." Sometimes fierce and at others more gently humorous, Onwurah tackles the clashes and ironies of the apparent gulf separating black and white, whilst showing that under the skin, emotions are universal.

Onwurah’s films have won prizes at the Berlin Film Festival, Germany; Melbourne Film Festival, Australia; Toronto Film Festival, Canada; and at NBPC, USA. (09/09)

Available Title(s):

Coffee Colored Children

A film by Ngozi Onwurah, 1988, 15 min, Color/BW

This lyrical, unsettling film conveys the experience of children of mixed racial heritage. Suffering the aggression of racial harassment, a young girl and her brother attempt to wash their skin white with scouring powder. Starkly emotional and visually compelling, this semi-autobiographical testimony to the profound internalized effects of racism and the struggle for self-definition and…

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The Body Beautiful

A film by Ngozi Onwurah, 1991, 23 min, Color

This bold, stunning exploration of a white mother who undergoes a radical mastectomy and her Black daughter who embarks on a modeling career reveals the profound effects of body image and the strain of racial and sexual identity on their charged, intensely loving bond. At the heart of Onwurah’s brave excursion into her mother’s scorned…

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And Still I Rise

A film by Ngozi Onwurah, 1993, 30 min, Color

Inspired by a poem by Maya Angelou, this powerful film explores images of Black women in the media, focusing on the myths surrounding Black women's sexuality. Like COLOR ADJUSTMENT, in which Marlon Riggs looked at images of Black people on television, AND STILL I RISE uses images from popular culture to reveal the way the…

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The Desired Number

A film by Ngozi Onwurah, 1995, 28 min, Color

THE DESIRED NUMBER uses the Ibu Eze ceremony in Nigeria to highlight how family planning issues often conflict with traditional family values. Nigeria is Africa's most populous country, yet has one of the highest infant and maternal mortality rates in the world. The Ibu Eze ceremony, which celebrates women who have given birth to large…

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Monday’s Girls

A film by Ngozi Onwurah, 1993, 50 min, Color

This fascinating documentary, by the filmmaker of THE BODY BEAUTIFUL, follows two young Nigerian women’s different experiences of a traditional rite of passage. Young virgins, irabo, spend five weeks in “fattening rooms”, emerging to dance before the villagers and to be married. The girls wear heavy copper coils on their legs to enforce inactivity as…

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