4 min read

Unsaid – A Poetry in Motion | Film Review directed by Ayodeji Otuyelu

Anubhav Chakraborty

March 30, 2022 4 min read

Unsaid – A Poetry in Motion 

Movie: Unsaid

Director: Ayodeji Otuyelu


“Poetry is not an expression of the party line. It’s that time of night, lying in bed, thinking what you really think, making the private world public, that’s what the poet does.” 

— Allen Ginsberg


Poetry is probably the most used medium of expression since the dawn of the world. No other genre captures the raw and honest essence of human emotions like Poetry does. Poetry makes us think deeply while it sways us in its beautiful rhythm. Poetry is not just the lilting sound that makes us dance to its tune, but also, it is a medium of conversation – a way to declare our position and standpoint in this society. Poetry, thus, is also a form of power – giving voice to many unheard souls. Poetry works as a channel to express the chained emotions of a person, it becomes the song of the caged bird who yearns for freedom- of expression, of existence and of equality. 

Nigeria born, presently New Yorker, writer director Ayodeji Otuyelu finds his first love in the form of poetry. He expresses all his desires, his pain and struggle through the words that prose can never contain. At a young age, Ayodeji started writing poems as an outlet for his overwhelming emotions but kept them a secret in his diary. The movie “Unsaid” is a culmination of those overwhelming emotions that he stored inside his heart for years. Poetry breaks the chains that confine us! Otuyelu’s “Unsaid” attempts to utilize this aspect of Poetry, and it won’t be an exaggeration if we conclude that the director has been quite successful to achieve that. The movie is a beautiful anthology of poetic movements. Otuyelu finds his way in this cruel world through his words and his movements. 

The body carries the marks of culture and ethnicity. And when that identity is questioned, people feel isolated, othered. In this movie, Otuyelu has created a collage with five of his poems, and showed different aspects that chain us down. The telling begins with the poem Cursed Child and then slowly progresses with Ungodly Feeling, The Whisperer, Hairitage, A Woman’s Religion. Each of the poems present the plight and struggle of being non-conventional, different. Otuyelu shows how society treats us differently if we do not follow the set footsteps. Through this movie, he has tried to give voice to the voiceless. The right to love without boundaries and the right to live without any obstruction are basic human rights, and sometimes people are denied these. The director portrays the ugly reality of this society and expresses his emotions through his work.

All the poems that he presents here are heartfelt and beautifully crafted. The pictorial representation is impeccable. But the poem Hairitage especially creates a permanent place in the viewers hearts! Finding our roots and nurturing them is very crucial in this world. The Western world has always tried to question and separate the Asian, African people from their roots. The white supremacy has denied many of their reality. As a result, a whole generation of people have grown up with immense insecurities and trauma. The white world has robbed the people of colour of their space! Otuyelu’s narrative rightfully claims the place back! His line, “Does my confidence scare you?” echoes with Maya Angelou’s “Does my sassiness upset you?/Why are you beset with gloom?”, and reminds us that nothing has changed significantly, yet!

The film is an earnest attempt and the beautiful representation appeals to its viewers. The unsaid words of countless people find their medium in Otuyelu’s narrative.

 The movie is a poetry-  in motion, and we can hope to see such marvelous projects in future from the director. Hope the world becomes a lot better by then.


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