Film Review: Diamonds in the sky

Diamonds in the sky Nigerian film

I can’t help thinking that the film title is influenced by the 2012 hit song by Rihanna, Partly because I hear the song in my head whenever I think of the film. 

Diamonds in the Sky is a moving educational drama that tackles the issues of breast cancer and cervical cancer. Essentially an awareness movie that hopes to address the stigma with female health issue as well as encourage women to get the required screening.

It follows the lives of 3 women from 3 different walks of life; a student, a corporate executive and a local market trader . Showing how their lives are changed by a cancer diagnosis and how it affects their family and friends as well.

The Corporate Executive

Here we see Aisha (Joke Silva), as a leading female executive having to battle male opposition in her role as Managing Director, as well as deal with health changes in her body.  She tries to self medicate in an attempt to manage the situation until it’s clear she can no longer control the heavy flow of blood and the pungent smell by herself. This was the weakest segment of the movie for me, because apart from highlight the fact that women of all ages are at risk of cervical cancer, it didn’t quite show the effects the diagnoses had on the main character’s life.

The Market Trader

This was the gem of the movie for me and quite frankly the entire film could have been written on this segment alone. Not only was it original, it was well informed and thoroughly enjoyable as well.

Here we see Labake (Bimbo Akintola), a market trader paired with Akanbi (Kayode Olaiya), her Taxi driving husband.

Labake and Akanbi are living just above the poverty line with 2 children to support. Meanwhile they have been trying to manage a growing lump Labake found in her breast for some time now by using local remedy.  Unable to afford modern hospital treatment, her husband ends up taking her to a traditional healer, who proposes a rather strange procedure that would make the lump ‘magically disappear’. 

This scene was acted brilliantly by both leads and it’s just unfortunate that there wasn’t enough time to build on this story, especially since, as far as raising awareness, a vast amount of people living Nigeria would be able to relate to this couple.

The student

Apart from a few dorm scenes and scanty shots on campus here and there, we barely see signs of student life in this segment. Instead it focuses more on the relationship between Teniola (Omowunmi Dada) and her fiance Kayode (Femi Adebayo).  When Teniola is diagnosed with cervical cancer, her fiancé’s family use it as an opportunity to oppose the relationship to their son, for fears she will be unable to have children. Here the film touches on tribalism and importance of childbirth in African relationships. 

Africa is having to come to terms with growing cases of cancer in the community and it is better to be well informed than remain ignorant about these issues.  As is often the case, people tend to think the worst, and of extreme outcomes from any cancer diagnoses. More so as it pertains to female reproductive health, cultural norms often play a big part in the way people handle the news.   

As an awareness movie,  it had moments where it felt a bit like an infomercial for the film sponsors, Leah foundation, but not to worry, there is still plenty of drama to make it an enjoyable movie.

Directed by Kunle Afolayan, known for cultural shooting style with a masterful blend of the Yoruba dialect and English in his movies, such as The figurine, and Mokalik. Paired with Toka McBaror as the DOP, I like how they brilliantly showcase the beauty of the ‘real Nigeria’ as a backdrop. They  present the raw beauty in slums and local areas of Nigeria.

The acting is very good as you would expect from a star studded cast and an extra special shout-out to the medical staff at the Lean Cancer Center for the thorough explanation of the different health issues even in Yoruba.

Available on Netflix via the link below.

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