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Baloji’s Directorial Debut, “Omen”, Graces Cinemas in Nairobi

Baloji’s Directorial Debut, “Omen”, Graces Cinemas in Nairobi

Omen - Augure - Baloji - showing in cinemas in Nairobi - Afrocritik

Omen, shot in the Democratic Republic of Congo, explores how belief systems affect an individual’s destiny.

By Helena Olori

Omen, a feature film by Belgium-Congolese filmmaker, Baloji, is now showing in cinemas across Nairobi, Kenya. The film, which marks Baloji’s directorial debut, is one of the three arthouse African titles distributed by Unseen Cinema in partnership with France-based distribution company, Sudu Connexion, in the first quarter of 2024.

Omen – translated as “Augure” – is a narrative drama that tells the story of Koffi, who returns to his birthplace years after he had been ostracised by his family. The film, shot in the Democratic Republic of Congo, explores how belief systems affect an individual’s destiny, bolstered by the intertwined stories of four characters accused of being witches and sorcerers, each one’s story exploring the mystical and cultural aspects of African beliefs.

Omen - Augure - Baloji - showing in cinemas in Nairobi - Afrocritik

The film’s acclaim since its release continues to mount. It was selected as Belgium’s official entry for the Best International Film category for the 96th Academy Awards, making it the first-ever African title to achieve this feat. Earlier in 2023, the film made the Cannes Official Selection and won two awards at the festival. Omen has also received several other accolades including First Debut Feature at the Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) 2023, Best Director, Sitges Film Festival 2023, Special Mention, Tubingen Francophone Festival 2023, and many others.

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Omen - Augure - Baloji - showing in cinemas in Nairobi - Afrocritik

Born to a Belgian father and a Congolese mother, Baloji’s career has been largely influenced by his name which is translated as “man of occult sciences” or “sorcerer’ in the modern Swahili language. While the name has a “heavy burden” to it, it has also been the driving force to his playful and empirical approach to art. Before his foray into filmmaking, the DRC-born musician and polymath artist has two critically acclaimed albums and EPs under his belt, the latest being Avennue Kaniama

Omen - Augure - Baloji - showing in cinemas in Nairobi - Afrocritik
Baloji

Omen is accompanied by a four-part soundtrack written and recorded from the point of the four characters. Its theatrical run in Kenya will continue till the 30th of January, 2024. Tickets are available here.

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