Omah Diegu: The Snake in my Bed (Die Schlange in meinem Bett)

The Snake in my Bed (Die Schlange in meinem Bett), Omah Diegu, 86’, Germany, ZDF 29.5.1995, OV with German subtitles

Omah Diegu from Nigeria studied at UCLA, and there she became part of the group that today goes by the name L.A. Rebellion. In 1994, she addressed this personal essay film to her son Ozim to tell him “the story of his birth and ancestry. That would help him never to let anyone else define him.” The story begins in Nigeria with the director’s marriage to a German engineer. But it soon becomes clear: He is already married and refuses to acknowledge the child. So she travels to Germany to register her son in his father’s country. “I made the film as I would any of my paintings,” says Diegu, who paints too: “an abstract vomit from the very depth of my soul”. A film like a revolutionary song that declares war on racism and misogyny by means of poetry.

Ijeoma IIoputaife aka Omah Diegu is a Nigerian filmmaker, painter and author. The first African woman to study film at UCLA, she is part of the second generation of the Los Angeles School of Black Filmmakers, also called L.A. Rebellion. Today, her short film African Women, U.S.A (1980) is one of the standard works of feminist African-American cinema. After returning to Nigeria, she lived in Germany for a while. This led to the autobiographical documentary The Snake in my Bed (1995) made in collaboration with Das kleine Fernsehspiel. Omah Diegu now lives as an artist in the USA.