“You don’t need to know much about the Sudan to understand this movie. What you do need to know or just have a familiarity with is these three words; Love, Family, Loyalty”, says Nyong’o.
By Helena Olori
The film, the first-ever Sudanese feature to screen at the Cannes Film Festival, is also Sudan’s official selection for the Best International Feature Film for the 96th Academy Awards, making it the country’s second-ever entry.
“Goodbye Julia is a powerful representation of the conflict happening in Sudan right now, which affects millions of lives across Eastern Africa”, said the Kenyan-born actress in an official statement. “Mohamed Kordofani and the filmmakers present the issues in a beautiful, deeply personal way. I’m honoured to lend my voice to help bring this film’s message to the world”, she noted.
Directed by Sudanese filmmaker Mohamed Kordofani, Goodbye Julia tells the story of two women, Mona and Julia—played by Eiman Yousif and Sudanese model, Siran Riak, both of whom made a compelling big-screen acting debut—whose friendship represents the complicated relationship and differences between the northern and southern Sudanese communities. The film, described as “a primer for the class, ethnic, and religious unrest that besets the troubled state of Sudan”, spotlights the events before the 2011 secession of South Sudan.
Goodbye Julia is produced by Amjad Abu Alala, the director of Sudan’s first-ever Oscars submission, You Will Die at Twenty (2019), and co-produced by Ali Alarabi of Ambient Light Films. The film has received critical acclaim globally including winning, the Freedom Prize in the Un Certain Regard section at the 76th Cannes, the Septimius Award for Best African Film, multiple awards at the France Festival Paysages de Cinéastes, the Cyprus Festival and the War on Screen Festival in Barcelona.
“You don’t need to know much about the Sudan to understand this movie. What you do need to know or just have a familiarity with is these three words; Love, Family, Loyalty”, said Nyong’o, while presenting the film to an audience at Creative Artists Agency.
(Read also: Four African Filmmakers Win Big at Cannes)
The multiple award-winning who played Nakia in Marvel’s Black Panther, made her feature debut in Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave (2013), for which she earned a Best Supporting Actress Oscar. She is expected to feature in the upcoming Paramount horror franchise spinoff, A Quiet Place: Day One, set for release in June 2024.