Writer/director Uche Aguh is here to blow your minds with the trailer to his feature film, The House Invictus. The trailer sets a tone that’s at once beautiful, intriguing, and downright horrifying.
The film, produced by Aguh’s 55Media, stars Jarius Sowells, Kayode Akinyemi, Vincent Ramirez, Thiree Pinnock, Julian Horton, Obum Nwankwo and J. Shawn Durham and follows several black men as they embark on what appears to be a macabre initiation that reflects the psychological trauma black men face in real life every day.
According to the official description: “The House Invictus is a psychological thriller that examines the shared history of black folk in America, both modern, and past. Blood, chaos, upheaval, sex and religion and it’s cultural fall out blended with the psychology of race, masculinity and the power of brotherhood.”
Aguh told Shadow and Act, “To me, it’s an exhibitionist film, something of a painting, or a gallery of paintings- The film does not justify, validate, or give reason to the issues discussed. It simply presents them in an artistic way, highlighting the ways they affect the characters involved, while leaving the audience with the opportunity to do the cerebral work of asking more questions and furthering the conversation along. The film is an ensemble piece with really strong characters that represent archetypes of ‘blackness’, each of them thrown into this House (The House Invictus) which at first, presents to the audience as some sort of Fraternity order or society house on a college campus, but in reality is actually a metaphoric representation of America and white supremacy.”
He continued, discussing how the project came about. “The film was written and directed by me, out of frustration. I had never intended to write a story so steeped in race. As a Nigerian-born American, I have found that in the past, I have always been a bit more reluctant and removed when it came to the conversation surrounding race in America. I had no real precedent for such a discussion as I didn’t learn about slavery or racism in Nigeria. I also felt like I didn’t own the space to talk about race as I always felt more Nigerian than American. But now, having lived in America, for a considerable portion of my adult life, I’ve come to understand the race conversation with first-hand encounters, and with the regime of the new presidency, I’ve become acutely even more vigilant in my awareness of these issues and my desire to talk about them regardless of my discomfort or the discomfort of anyone else.”
The film is packed with meaning and metaphor, and Aguh referenced the film’s magnitude on his Twitter page. “This has been my biggest undertaking as a filmmaker to date,” he wrote. “I’m extremely proud of it.” No release date for The House Invictus has been given.
Watch the trailer below:
Aguh has been on Shadow and Act’s radar for a while; back in July 2017, Aguh released the concept trailer for his semi-autobiographic feature film, The Beautiful Ones Are All Mad, which was intended to be his feature directorial debut before he went in the direction of Invictus. The trailer starred Aguh as Kunle, a manic-depressive film student and Rizelle Januk as Lola, a psychiatrist intern. The two come together on “a journey of self-discovery, love, and self-therapy.”