Film and Philosophy

Volume 27, 2023

Saheed Bello
Pages 89-103

Orúnmìliàn Film-Philosophy
Aesthetics of Èjìgbèdè Ẹkú in Saworoidẹ

This article discusses a relationship between the philosophical praxis of Ọ̀rúnmìlà and aesthetics of Èjìgbèdè Ẹ̀kú (i.e., the costume of the living and the costume of the dead) in Saworoidẹ (dir. Túndé Kèlání’s, 1999). I construct the Yorùbá/Ọ̀rúnmìlà philosophical method of Èjìgbèdè Ẹ̀kú in the contemporary Nigerian narrative film as case study of how contemporary African filmmakers, like their oral artiste counterparts, continue to articulate their inherited traditions via cinematic storytelling. In doing that I draw on what I call the Ọ̀rúnmìliàn “parable of Eégún” (masquerade) to establish what I designate the philosophical/therapeutic questions of Èjìgbèdè Ẹ̀kú; and thus, argue that Èjìgbèdè Ẹ̀kú gives “presence to non-presence” so that the living/present can dialogue with the dead/past as a way of healing, re-moralizing, and/or decolonizing the living through cinematic storytelling. I conclude that Ọ̀rúnmìliàn film does not solely rekindle, and teach us, a valuable aesthetic practice of self-reflection or self-reevaluation but also decolonize and de-westernize film-philosophy