Kunle Afolayan’s latest directorial effort is a juxtaposition of sorts. Deceptively simple, but incredibly complex, Citation combines several elements in the telling of one story. Warring elements of friendship and betrayal, love and manipulation, courage in the face of adversity, individual triumph over general progress, tell the story of a young lady on a quest for truth and justice. 

Citation is a story that spans three African countries, carrying you on a nostalgic journey to the halls of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, Osun state, to the hot expanse of Senegal, and the watery coasts of Portuguese speaking Cape Verde. 

The movie takes on a wholesome approach in tackling the sensitive and sore subject of sexual harassment, particularly in an academic setting. Rather than let itself be stifled by the negative aura of this subject, the movie is punctuated by love, music, humour, beautiful languages and heartwarming scenes, delivering a delicate balance to the tense stories of betrayal, manipulation and lies. 

This work of art expertly displays the role perception plays in the expression of reality. In the search for truth, it becomes obvious that individuals have different interpretations of events dictated by their bias, prejudice and relationship with the involved parties. 

Temi Otedola delivers a brave and brilliant performance in her debut role as Moremi, a young woman in search of justice. Haitian-American Jimmy Jean-Louis, is enthralling in his transformation as Professor Lucien N’Dyare, the well travelled, well decorated, respected but predatory, supervisory lecturer, who has come all the way from Senegal to spend his sabbatical at OAU.

Gabriel Afolayan, is earnest, cocky and supportive as Moremi’s boyfriend Koyejo. Ini Edo, Joke Silva and Ibukun Awosika (who appears as herself) deliver stellar performances in their supporting roles. There are also a number of cameo appearances including Seun Kuti and Kunle Afolayan himself, appearing briefly as Koyejo’s brother. In spite of its heavy star power, the plot does not get lost, neither does the story become laborious, but is carried easily by its protagonist’s poise and natural grace. 

Conversations throughout the movie flow from English, Yoruba, French to Portuguese, forcing you to pay attention to nuances, expressions, body language, more than words. Citation is Kunle Afolayan at his directorial finest, telling a beautiful, warm cross country story set against harsh lines. Temi Otedola delivers a quietly brilliant performance in her debut role as Moremi Oluwa, embodying the courage that anyone seeking justice in the face of adversity must wear.

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