Where I Belong
It was a dramatic year for Arinze Eze – in love, work, even family – and our
cameras were with him for the entire journey.
Raised in Nigeria but born in Canada, Arinze Eze has always struggled to find a place of belonging. At age 21, nearly two decades after leaving Canada, he returned to his birthplace, an unfamiliar, snow-laden country. It was one of the coldest winters on record, and the people Arinze’s family had arranged for him to stay with turned him away at the door. His education as an engineer was meaningless in Canada, and he was unable to find the lucrative job that was supposed to help him send riches back to his family in Africa.
Nine years later, he seems settled as a Canadian; he has re-invented himself as a talented painter, musician and filmmaker, and has fallen in love with a beautiful, charming Canadian woman.
Arinze's family still doesn't know about Tina - even though the couple has been together five years - or of their son's career in the arts. He feels the best way to help them understand his choices is to show them his new life in person. He arranges for them to visit. Arinze and Tina busy themselves with preparations, excited and more than a little nervous. Pressure and stress weigh on the relationship, and as Arinze fights with authorities to get temporary visas for his parents, his relationship begins to crumble – right in front of the cameras.
Awkwardly negotiating the world of his parents’ traditions and the demands of his relationship, Arinze searches for a middle ground. But when his born-again Christian mother and Jewish girlfriend find a common bond in their love for Arinze, he begins to see that maybe there is a way for him to belong to both worlds.
Where I Belong was produced as part of the Reel Diversity Competition for emerging filmmakers of colour. Reel Diversity is a National Film Board of Canada initiative in partnership with CBC Newsworld.
2007, 45 min 47 s
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