Director: Karin Junger
In recent years, a growing group of illegal prostitutes from West Africa has settled in the suburbs of major cities both in the Netherlands and in the rest of Europe. The women come here in order to escape poverty, looking for a better life and new perspectives. They dream of riches. But for most of them, the European adventure is a disappointment that ends when they fly back to Nigeria empty-handed. In the district where I live, I meet them often. Black women who are staying here illegally and survive on odd jobs such as babysitting, cleaning or prostitution. They are vulnerable because they are not protected by any status or insurance. But they do not look defeated. Tried and tested. Smart, cheeky, vigorous. Used to being on the receiving end. Whatever happens, they keep laughing. It’s a harsh, radiant laugh that indicates: “You can’t break me” and “Despite everything, I shall always enjoy life to the full”. I admire their vitality, their resilience, their inventiveness. They inspire me. They are the heart of this film.
The film listens to women talk about their European adventure and shows the development of two women who, after returning to Nigeria, try to build a new life. The most important question is whether the women manage to regain their self-respect and recapture control of their own lives.
They do a course at the Lady Mechanic Garage, where deprived women are trained as car mechanics. But there are countless obstacles. They are cheated by woman who runs the course. They have to survive without any substantial income. They have to leave their children with family or bring them up in difficult circumstances. Time and again they are confronted with a merciless society in which there seems to be no room for them. But they don’t lose sight of their dreams and their lust for life.The film is not only a plea for their resilience but also an expression of it. Music, as a source of comfort, pleasure and beauty – in other words resilience – plays an important role in the lives of the women and also in the film, with songs especially composed for it by Nigeria’s best producers and vocalists.
Director / Karin Junger