Contemporary World Cinema

The Royal Hibiscus Hotel

Ishaya Bako

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In this spritely Nollywood romantic comedy, an aspiring restaurateur returns to her home in Lagos to try and refine the fare at her family’s little hotel, only to find that her parents are planning on selling out to a rich (and devilishly attractive) buyer.

All you need is love — but great food doesn't hurt, either. Luckily for all bon vivants, the new film by Ishaya Bako combines both.

Ope (Zainab Balogun, seen at last year's Festival in audience favourite The Wedding Party) is struggling to make it as a chef in London and dreams of opening her own Afro-fusion restaurant. But she keeps hitting roadbloacks in her attempts to get her business going, and she finally quits her job when it becomes clear that her flare for exploring finer fare isn't appreciated.

Unsure of what to do next, she heads home to Lagos to reinvigorate the palates of the guests at her family's hotel. Little does she know, however, that her parents (played by Nollywood icons Jide Kosoko and Rachel Oniga) are planning on selling the establishment. The plot takes another tasty twist when the buyer turns out to be none other than the eye-catching Deji (former Mr. Nigeria himself Kenneth Okolie). Will this set-up be a recipe for disaster or one for true love?

Bako brings a playful quality to his sophomore feature and captures the unmistakable chemistry between his leads. Backed by the strong ensemble cast (including 2016 TIFF Rising Star OC Ukeje) and executive produced by mogul Mo Abudu, The Royal Hibiscus Hotel is a tale of navigating careers and love — and finding a way to have your cake and eat it, too.

KIVA REARDON

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location_on Scotiabank 9

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theaters Press

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theaters Regular