short film | cecile emeke - wilton

April 05, 2017

Globetrotter Mag's Ifeanyi Awachie offers a poetic response to one of London filmmaker Cecile Emeke's latest works, Wilton, about a group of cousins grappling with their past. 

The first thing I notice is that I’m not using to eating food that way. A group of people, black people, gathered, and a mere halved orange on a green plastic cutting board. We don’t have that kind of abstinent, functional relationship with food. My mother always cooked, fed us in abundance.

The group are wearing the same colors on different articles of black clothing and in their hair. Forest green, orange - the shades are repeated in the clothing rack in the background of the shot; a wood-paneled sunroof is visible in the top right-hand corner. A minimal background relative to the beautiful, adorned people at the forefront. The matching clothes are a metaphor for their relationship.

The structure of the piece catches on instantly: these people will speak, speak over each other, half-sentences cutting into half-sentences, run-on sentences running into each other. One cousin switches in and out of Spanish, another’s accent strikes me as South African. Yet another speaks of an exhibition in Tokyo. They are spread out, and this I can relate to: a family spread out all over the world. They speak of Nairobi. My own family anchored in Lagos, Port Harcourt, Nsukka, Australia, London, Canada, DC. The group speaks of a grandmother. They speak so much. This in itself is amazing. Black people just speaking, speaking, speaking so much.

Radio static plays each time the camera cuts to the perspective of the dark-skinned man with the blue beard, the one who moves the citrus halves up and down the green plastic as if it were a Ouija board. The static sounds like an airplane connecting with its airport; it evokes travel, movement. The emotionless fuzz interrupts the conversation, even when the man bursts into tears. These cousins are mobile, yet seemed imprisoned in their distance from each other, from others. From Grandma?

Video courtesy of Random Acts