Goodbye Julia

31 May 18:20 | Odeon Luxe West End

Set on the brink of the secession of South Sudan, Mona is a retired singer from the North wracked with guilt after causing the death of a Southern man and covering her tracks. Seeking redemption, she hires his oblivious wife, Julia, as her maid. Even as tensions rise and secrets threaten to reveal, the two women form an unlikely bond. 

Goodbye Julia is Sudanese director Mohamed Kordofani’s debut feature and notably the first film from Sudan to be presented at the Cannes International Film Festival. Taking place in Khartoum during the six years prior to the 2011 secession of South Sudan, Kordofani’s film is a scathing indictment of racism, classism and religious prejudice in his home country. 

Transported to Khartoum in August 2005, we are introduced to two very different households. Mona (Eiman Yousif) is a wealthy Muslim from northern Sudan who resides in a gated home with her husband Akram (Nazar Gomaa). Meanwhile, just a mere walking distance away lives Julia (Siran Riak), a poor Christian southerner who is unfairly evicted due to her dark skin and background along with her husband Santino (Paulino Victor Bol) and son Daniel (played by Louis Daniel Ding and Stephanos James Peter at different ages). The two women, whose differing paths were never supposed to converge, intersect in a single moment of tragedy. When a distracted Mona accidentally hits young Daniel with her car, she is thrust into a whirlwind of panic and desperation. As tensions mount, Mona’s actions set off a chain reaction of events, pulling both her and Julia, and their respective families, into a cascade of conflict and confrontations that had been quietly brewing. 

Despite the film’s potent political depth examining the dynamics of the complicated interaction between northerners and southerners, alongside the conflict between progressivism and conservatism, its artistic integrity remains intact with stunning cinematography and tension-filled pacing, balancing critical subject matter with delightful charm.

Mohamed Kordofani | 120 mins | Sudan, Egypt, Germany, France, KSA, Sweden