Breath of Life (2023 film)

Breath of Life is a 2023 Nigerian drama film executively produced by BB Sasore and Derin Adeyokunnu. The film was written and directed by BB Sasore and produced by Eku Edewor.[1] It was released on November 15, 2023, as an Amazon Prime Video original film and the first of the three-part deal between Nemsia films and Amazon studios.[2] It was the closing film at the 2023 Africa International Film Festival.[3] It won the best movie category award at the 2024 Africa Magic Viewers' Choice Awards.[4][5]

Breath of Life
Directed byBB Sasore
Written byBB Sasore
Produced byEku Edewor, BB Sasore, Derin Adeyokunnu
StarringWale Ojo
Chimezie Imo
Genoveva Umeh
Ademola Adedoyin
Eku Edewor
Sam Dede
CinematographyOla Cardoso
Edited byHolmes Awa
Amazon MGM Studios
Nemsia Films
Distributed byAmazon Prime Video
Release dates
  • November 15, 2023 (2023-11-15) (Nigeria and Canada)
Running time
114 minutes

Synopsis edit

Narrated by Elijah, the story follows Timi, a young man who excelled academically, spoke 16 languages, and became the first African clergyman in the Church of England. After marrying Bridget and having a daughter, he returns to Nigeria, leading a fulfilling life until tragedy strikes. His family falls victim to Baby Fire, a local thug, leading to a series of tragic events that turn Timi into a recluse.[6] The film later introduces Elijah, who changes Timi's life and helps him rediscover his faith and purpose.[7]

Cast edit

Wale Ojo as Old Timi: Wale Ojo portrays old Timi, who has settled into seclusion after tragedy strikes his family. He is a cold, grieving, and angry man who lives in isolation. He is properly introduced in the scene after his butler dies and is depicted driving off a man presumed to be applying for a position from his house with a loaded pistol. Old Timi is portrayed as a man who remains stuck in the past, evident in his choice of furnishings in the house and his cars. Despite not engaging much with the outside world, he is highly knowledgeable and keeps up with current issues by reading the daily papers.

Chimezie Imo as Elijah: Elijah is a bright-eyed youth who has just concluded his National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) service year and moves to Ibadan for greener pastures. He nurses an ambition to start a church, which is revealed to be his major reason for moving into the town. His goal is to resuscitate the abandoned church built by Mr. Timi and to pastor the congregation. Elijah is depicted as valuing and prioritizing hard work and dedication to God above all else, even above his well-being. He embodies the son end of the father-son dynamic between him and Mr. Timi. Although Elijah is revealed to be an orphan, he embodies resilience and determination. Additionally, Elijah had breathing problems which endeared his character even more, as it occasionally served as comic relief or manifested when he was anxious or fearful. This aspect revealed the human and relatable side of Elijah beyond his super benevolent, nearly angelic quality.

Ademola Adedoyin as Young Timi: Young Timi is the quintessential character who is highly gifted and accomplished. At the beginning, it is revealed that he "spoke 16 languages, 4 of which were extinct," graduated top of his class in Cambridge, and was the highest-honored cadet in the British Navy. He was also one of the youngest people to become a member of the clergy in the Church of England. The film revealed that on July 3, 1953, he broke the world record for the youngest man to hold his breath underwater, spanning 57 minutes and 18 seconds. However, Young Timi moved back to mid-western Nigeria in the 1960s during the period of the country's independence with his wife and young daughter, Alison, after his father's death. He then rebuilt and started a church in the town where he lived in Ibadan, Nigeria.

Eku Edewor as Bridget: Bridget is the wife of the protagonist Timi, and it is revealed that she met him in Cambridge. They have a daughter named Alison, and she moves back with him to Nigeria when his father dies. She stands out in the small town she moves into, sporting an ensemble of English vintage wardrobe that seamlessly enhances her role and serves as a reminder of where the protagonist once was (England) and, in many ways, who he is as well.

Genoveva Umeh as Anna: Anna serves as the romantic interest of Elijah. She is a bold, confident, and fiery character who balances and challenges Elijah, encouraging him to fight for what he wants. Despite coming from a more financially buoyant background than Elijah, she never allows it to hinder their relationship or her connection with the townsfolk. Anna volunteers at the town's medical center and helps Elijah learn new values of determination and confidence. In the course of the film, she also grows as a character who has been influenced by Elijah's values of faith, loyalty, and humility.

Chiedozie Nzeribe Sambasa as Baby Fire: Baby Fire is one of the major antagonists of the film. He leads the Baby Fire gang, manipulated by colonial masters to sow chaos and terror among the townspeople. Described as someone who enjoys watching destruction unfold, he is vengeful, menacing, and portrayed as a sadist. Baby Fire's role in the film is pivotal; he orchestrates the inciting incident that disrupts Mr. Timi's comfortable and idyllic life, plunging him into darkness and seclusion, setting the stage for the major plot to unfold.

Bimbo Manuel as Mr. Coker: Mr. Coker serves as Mr. Timi's lawyer, managing all aspects of his affairs including properties, business, and investments. He keeps Mr. Timi informed of necessary matters and ensures that everything is taken care of, recognizing Mr. Timi's inclination to avoid public appearances. Mr. Coker is not only Mr. Timi's legal representative but also his confidant and one of his oldest friends, having been present even before tragedy struck. When Mr. Timi is faced with a major decision at the end, he confides in Mr. Coker and entrusts him with carrying out the task in his absence. Their relationship is characterized by trust, mutual understanding, and camaraderie.

Sam Dede as Chief Okonkwo: Chief Okonkwo is Anna's father, a prominent businessman and the primary antagonist obstructing Elijah's dream of becoming a pastor. He is portrayed as a stern and influential figure who prioritizes securing financial gain and safeguarding his interests above all else. Chief Okonkwo's staunch opposition poses a significant obstacle to Elijah's aspirations and creates tension in the narrative.

Ashionye Michelle Raccah as Mrs. Okonkwo: Mrs. Okonkwo is Anna's mother, a middle-aged, regal, and affluent woman married to one of the richest and most influential individuals in the town. She epitomizes the affluent housewife, prioritizing family, homemaking, and the interests of her husband, which in turn rewards her with a lavish lifestyle. Devoted to her husband, she takes his side to secure his business interests, even if it means going against her daughter's wishes, risking driving a rift between them.

Melanie Atari as Alison: Alison is the young daughter of Mr. Timi, born in England and later moved to Nigeria at a very young age. She is portrayed as a mini-version of her mother, Bridget, resembling her in looks, fashion choices, and carriage. This resemblance serves to highlight the strong connection and influence between mother and daughter, contributing to the depth of their characters within the narrative.

Hugh Thorley as Magistrate: The Magistrate was a British judge who presided over the case against the townspeople and Baby Fire, wielding authority over legal matters in the town.

Tina Mba as Mama Ayo: Mama Ayo is a dedicated member of the town's community who regularly attends services at Elijah's church. Her unwavering commitment to the church is evident as she stands by Elijah's side to protect it from demolition. Additionally, Mama Ayo's bold style choices and makeup reflect her effort to stay fashionable for the time period, adding depth and intrigue to her character.

Soundtrack edit

The soundtrack for "Breath of Life" was carefully curated by Kaline Akinugbe. The tracklist includes the following songs:

  • Shoemaker - 121Selah
  • Breathe on me, Breath of God - Nkiruka Nkechi, Ugbaja
  • Rise - Dinachi
  • My baby - Remi & Sinmidele
  • Here we go - Bez
  • Igba mi De - Femi Leye
  • Gi Ni Nan - Bez
  • Fresh Love - Dinachi
  • Victory Dance - Okopi Peterson
  • Forever Sweet - Dotti the Deity
  • Ice Love - Chale, Kaline
  • Days and Night - Anendlessocean
  • Father - Cill Soul
  • Lose to Gain - Kaline

Reception edit

Viewership edit

According to, after the release of "Breath of Life" on Amazon Prime Videos, the film held a top 10 position in 11 countries for 43 days with an average of 20 points per day. These countries include: Armenia, Benin, Cameroon, Ghana, Malawi, Nigeria, Qatar, Rwanda, Togo, Uganda, and Zambia. Moreover, it secured the number 1 spot in Nigeria and Ghana.

Critical reception edit

On the review aggregator website IMDB, "Breath of Life" (2023) holds a modest 5.7/10, with an average user rating of 7.8/10. It earns high praise from Nigerian film critic Cinemapointer, who labels it "Sterling" with a 5-star rating. Onu Stephen of Premium Times also commends the film's technical aspects, stating that its "meticulous cinematography, costumes, and settings transport viewers to the story's heart," giving it an 8/10 rating. Frank Eleanya of Business Day lauds the film for delivering "one of the most stunning storytelling Nollywood has ever known" and highly recommends it. Seyi Lasisi of Afrocritik describes the film as "grand and ambitious filmmaking" that will "permanently be the definition of grand and ambitious filmmaking." The Nollywood Reporter positively reviews it as "a tale of renewed drive and purpose." Tony Asankomah of Ghmovie Freak states that the film is "a testament to the limitless potential of great storytelling when coupled with stellar execution." Finally, Nollywire gives a rating of 9.2/10 describing the film as an “inspirational story about life and destiny where one must live to fulfill their purpose and cannot die until this is done.” Overall, "Breath of Life" elicits a range of positive reviews for its technical prowess and storytelling.

Awards & Nominations edit

"Breath of Life" has garnered significant recognition at the 10th edition of the African Magic Viewers' Choice Awards (AMVCA). The film has received an impressive 11 nominations across various categories, reaffirming its widespread acceptance and fame in the Nigerian film industry. The nominations for "Breath of Life" at the 10th AMVCA include:

  • Best Lead Actor: Wale Ojo
  • Best Supporting Actor: Demola Adedoyin
  • Best Supporting Actress: Genoveva Umeh
  • Best Writing in a Movie: BB Sasore
  • Best Costume Design: Daniel Obasi
  • Best Cinematography: Breath of Life
  • Best Director: BB Sasore
  • Best Editing: Holmes Awa
  • Best Sound Design: Breath of Life
  • Best Art Direction: Okechukwu Frost Nwankwo, Kelechi Odu
  • Best Movie: Breath of Life

Social Impact edit

  • From Script to Screen: A case study of the breath of life film

On Thursday, March 7, 2024, an event took place between the creators of "Breath of Life" and FilmOne Group, aimed at fostering knowledge sharing within Nollywood. The event served as a case study, exposing the entire filmmaking process to filmmakers from diverse backgrounds. Attendees had the opportunity to ask questions, network, and gain insights into the production of the film.

This initiative utilized the wide impact of "Breath of Life" to encourage collaboration and learning within the Nigerian film industry. By providing transparency into the filmmaking process, the event aimed to inspire and educate both aspiring and established filmmakers. It highlighted the commitment of the creators to contribute to the growth and development of Nollywood.

Overall, the event between the filmmakers and FilmOne Group exemplified the social impact of "Breath of Life," showcasing its role in fostering a culture of knowledge sharing and collaboration within the Nigerian film community.

  • Nemsia Films & Evercare Hospital Lekki Collaborate to Support Asthma Care

In March 2024, Nemsia Films partnered with Evercare Hospital Lekki in a strategic collaboration aimed at bolstering awareness about asthma and extending crucial support to patients. This joint effort confronted the challenges encountered by asthma sufferers, particularly those who struggle to access essential medications.

A notable highlight of 'Breath of Life' was the character Elijah, portrayed by Chimezie Imo, whose heartfelt and humorous depiction of asthma punctuated the movie with moments of comedy, adding depth and relatability to the narrative. As such, Nemsia Films and Evercare Hospital Lekki announced the distribution of 100 complimentary inhalers to individuals in need. This initiative is specifically targeted towards those facing financial constraints, ensuring they have access to vital asthma medications.

The distribution of the complimentary inhalers took place at Evercare Hospital Lekki's premises in Lekki, Lagos. By hosting the event on-site, the partners aim to reach underserved individuals within the community and provide them with much-needed support.

References edit

  1. ^ Ige, Rotimi (2023-12-15). "'Breath Of Life' more than a movie, it's a journey for every human — Wale Ojo". Tribune Online. Retrieved 2023-12-21.
  2. ^ Nigeria, Guardian (2023-11-05). "BB Sasore's Breath of Life is AFRIFF 2023 closing film". The Guardian Nigeria News - Nigeria and World News. Retrieved 2023-12-21.
  3. ^ Udodiong, Inemesit (2023-11-03). "Period piece 'Breath of Life' is AFRIFF 2023's closing film". Pulse Nigeria. Retrieved 2023-12-21.
  4. ^ "AMVCA 2024 winners full list: Kehinde Bankole and Wale Ojo win Best Actress and Best Actor". BBC News Pidgin. 11 May 2024. Retrieved 12 May 2024.
  5. ^ Oke, Odunmorayo (2024-05-11). "'Breath of Life' Wins Big at the 2024 AMVCA Awards". The Guardian Nigeria News - Nigeria and World News. Retrieved 2024-05-12.
  6. ^ Eleanya, Frank (2023-12-20). "Breath of Life review: A visually stunning story of faith, friendship". Businessday NG. Retrieved 2023-12-21.
  7. ^ (2024-03-26). "Nemsia Films & Evercare hospital partners to breathe hope into asthma care". Retrieved 2024-03-28.

6. Ayo, Oikoyi (2024-03-25) "Breath of Life’ crew celebrates 11 nominations at 10th AMVCA" (