City to City

The Arbitration

Niyi Akinmolayan

Arbitration 01

TIFF Rising Stars OC Ukeje and Somkele Iyamah-Idhalama join a stellar cast of Nollywood heavyweights in this whip-smart courtroom drama about lust, betrayal, and the price of ambition.

The latest film directed by box-office sensation Niyi Akinmolayan is a bold and whip-smart courtroom drama featuring a stellar cast of Nollywood heavyweights and newcomers alike — including two of this year's TIFF Rising Stars, OC Ukeje and Somkele Iyamah-Idhalama. The Arbitration is a cautionary tale of lust, betrayal, and corporate ambition.

Gbenga (Ukeje), a charming and celebrated entrepreneur who runs a ridiculously profitable tech company, is the defendant in a lawsuit filed by Dara (Adesua Etomi), a computer engineer whose talents helped Gbenga's company achieve its current worth. The former colleagues are also former lovers. Their torrid two-year love affair ended bitterly when Gbenga learned that his wife was pregnant with their first child, and Dara quit the company even though Gbenga had yet to pay her previously promised shares. Her lawsuit seeks compensation for those accounts, but she is also trying to get Gbenga to admit to raping her after the breakup.

Reconstructing the past is a daunting task when every smallest detail differs depending which side of the negotiation table you sit on. The deeper the questioning, the more is revealed in this complex tale of betrayal in both the office and the bedroom.

The Arbitration tackles contemporary Nigeria with gusto. And although the film is set in Lagos, the sad truth is that its central concept — of a high-profile sexual assault case in which the woman is painted as a jilted ex-lover — resonates in cities the world over.

CAMERON BAILEY

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location_on Isabel Bader Theatre

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