“Sistá”: A thought-provoking film that fails to go far enough

Omoleye Omoruyi
"Sistá" the movie
“Sistá” [Image: IG/Biodun Stephen]

You’d agree with us that anxiety comes into play when a Nigerian film is on a watch or review list. You are most likely walking into the cinema or clicking the title on a streaming platform with a bias: your preference for Hollywood over Nollywood, unless you’ve been a ‘home video’ fanatic since the 90s.

Our movie today is “Sistá“, a film that re-emphasises the failure of many Nigerian men to be the fathers they should be, and the thing about forgiveness.

“Sistá,” (2022) stars Kehinde Bankole as Sistá and Deyemi Okanlawon as Folarin and was directed, written and produced by Biodun Stephen, which is a flag coloured the red way. Biodun, however, tells a relatable story: one of irresponsible youth, failed university systems, independent women, the struggles of motherhood, the pertinence of fatherhood, and a less realistic story: emigration as the only way to succeed.

The film goes back and forth between the younger and older Sistá and Folarin. Here, Biodun changes the regular vintage flashback methods used by many Nollywood producers, and while it may take dummies [no offence intended] a while to understand this, this is a fresh way to tell the story.

Fortunately for Nollywood fans across the world, the camera-ing, lighting, and sound for New Nollywood have greatly improved, so arguments on that are reserved for Old Nollywood. “Sistá” was released in 2022, so you would not expect it to have a bad review in that light, especially when you experience the transitions and the quality of the cameras.


You’d not find drone cinematography or VFX in “Sistá”, the kind of technologies that create a visually stunning and immersive film that is sure to impress audiences.

Takeaways from “Sistá”

"Sistá" the movie
“Sistá” [Image: IG/Biodun Stephen]

There are unforgiving social media users who have argued that Folarin should suffer the consequences of his actions before he is forgiven, but we all know how evil is erased from history in a society like Nigeria.

Folarin had abandoned his baby mama – one child and a pregnancy – arguing that it was too much for a 21-year-old who had just finished school to handle. A grave offence, but after small agidi, Sistá gives in and they are all on their way to Europe almost immediately after.

The recklessness of pre-marital sex and a failed pull-out game without the means to handle the products became a thing of the past.

Can you handle my past?” Folarin asks his wife, Bisola Aiyeola (Tiwatope) when he eventually decided to connect with his past. At this point, Folarin had started showering his ‘kids’ with money and gifts and Tiwatope had asked earlier: “Do you know how I feel about all this?”

Fortunately, Tiwatope loves Folarin to a fault and would stay with him for better or worse – a rare case in contemporary woke society. But, from another angle, Tiwatope is not bothered about the other woman in the picture and only wants both parties to be satisfied.

I’m a secure woman, another woman taking away my husband from me is the least of my worries.

Tiwatope to Jemima

Sistá is the ‘other woman’, the one who has been washing houses just to make sure her children “are not below their peers.” We, however, do not experience the struggles of single motherhood through this character, as the audience is made to imagine most of it.

Nigeria is filled with women abandoned by their ‘husbands’ or baby daddies and “Sistá” missed an opportunity to fully highlight this societal flaw.

If it were a short film, we won’t be bothered, but when you produce a film that plays for more than 60 minutes, then be ready to go all the way. It does not look like the young Sistá went through hell unless we want to take her word for it.

At this point, you are reminded of the adversity The Mother went through just to keep her daughter alive.

Ultimately, Biodun makes an attempt and you have an obligation to support Nollywood as a patriotic Nigerian.

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