Metro Weekly

‘All the Colours of the World…’ Review: Reel Affirmations 2023

Two Nigerian men fall for each other in a land where LGBTQ relationships are essentially banned.

All the Colors of the World Are Between Black and White
All the Colors of the World Are Between Black and White

All the Colours of the World Are Between Black and White (★★★☆☆) tells the love story of two men, Bambino (Tope Tedela) and Bawa (Riyo David), who meet in Lagos, where the film is set, during a photography competition.

While exploring the city, the pair clash and coincide as they fall for each other in a land where LGBTQ relationships are essentially banned.

The Nigerian romantic drama, written and directed by Babatunde Apalowo in his directorial debut, also features Martha Ehinome Orhiere as Ifeyinwa, Bambino’s would-be love interest. All three actors, while they could be better developed, deliver artful and beautiful performances.

It is worth noting that All the Colours of the World was in part inspired by Apalowo witnessing, as a university student, the lynching of a bunkmate on the basis of his sexual orientation.

It is also worth noting that Apalowo struggled during the film’s production to find the right cast because many actors worried about adverse effects on their careers due to the precarious situation of LGBTQ people in Nigeria.

For the most part, All the Colours of the World excels in depicting forbidden love without being melodramatic. Cinematographer David Wyte’s camerawork makes the men’s intimacy palpable, comparing and contrasting it with the energy and vibrancy of Lagos.

However, the film depends too much on the idea that the city itself is a character.

For instance, characters in the background are sometimes forced to do the work of moving the plot forward through their own ostensibly unrelated conversations.

The leads are often too quiet, robbing the viewer of key opportunities to come to understand their interiority and internal conflict. The existing dialogue is, at the same time, sometimes a little on the nose.

That said, All the Colours of the World‘s leads will captivate and compel you, and leave you dreaming of a more just world. 

‘All the Colours of the World’ plays on Sunday, Oct. 22, at 3 p.m. at The Eaton.

Live screenings of Reel Affirmations films are Oct. 20 to 22 at the Eaton Hotel, 1201 K St. NW, in Washington, D.C.

Reel Affirmations 2023 includes the Virtual Film Festival providing online access to 43 films for those film lovers who cannot attend the festival in person, with a viewing window from Oct. 23 to 29. Of the 43 films, 26 are available only online.

For a full schedule of films, including retrospective showings, all pricing and pass options, and party information, visit

Support Metro Weekly’s Journalism

These are challenging times for news organizations. And yet it’s crucial we stay active and provide vital resources and information to both our local readers and the world. So won’t you please take a moment and consider supporting Metro Weekly with a membership? For as little as $5 a month, you can help ensure Metro Weekly magazine and remain free, viable resources as we provide the best, most diverse, culturally-resonant LGBTQ coverage in both the D.C. region and around the world. Memberships come with exclusive perks and discounts, your own personal digital delivery of each week’s magazine (and an archive), access to our Member's Lounge when it launches this fall, and exclusive members-only items like Metro Weekly Membership Mugs and Tote Bags! Check out all our membership levels here and please join us today!