Story, Screenplay & Direction by Ikenna Emma Aniekwe
ACT OF FAITH
Mercy Johnson – Uche
Mike Ezuruonye – Lesley
Halima Abubakar – Dr Lovela
Patience Ozokwor – Lesley’s mother
Ify Afuba – Uche’s mother
Ifeanyi Azodo – Dr Bayow
Chizzy Okiche – Tina
My Rating 78%
The first thing I noticed was that the spelling of the film was different to that that was on the cover. One said Act of Faith and the other Acts of Faith. Get it together marketers!!!
A couple, Uche the pastor and Lesley the pastor’s husband are hounded by the Lesley’s mother for “refusing to produce grandchildren.” It is said as if kids are eggs for sale in the supermarket and as if every act of sex is a guarantee of a child. This is a recurring theme in Nollywood, and it is always the grandparents (normally grandmother) acting as if their daughter (in law) has personally abused them by not having a child in the “required” time. Impotence is looked upon as a curse and something that one brings upon themselves. There is no sympathy bestowed on those who do not have children and want them or those who are infertile in the sense that there is in the west. Women are hounded the most and the blame is most often put on them as opposed to the man.
One day armed robbers break into the home and Uche is raped. While at the hospital she is mute and not responding to anyone so the doctors suggest moving her to a psychiatric ward. Her mother is distraught and begs her to “pray herself out” of the situation. Even in the psychiatric ward the psychotherapist played by Halima whips out the bible when she is perturbed by the patient howling at her. She then gets Uche’s mother to read bible verses to her until she calms down. The issue of religion and all that surrounds it is so pervasive in Nigerian society that it even infiltrates even medical establishments as a bonafide method of treatment.
Not long after the rape we find out that Pastor Uche is preggers. *SHOCK HORROR* Come on now! Why does every rape victim in a Nigerian film have to fall pregnant? How unrealistic is that? Let someone be a little bit original and shoot a film where rape occurs and the victim does not fall pregnant. However I must give kudos because it is the first time ever that I am seeing morning sickness not in the morning, outside. Uche actually throws up in the toilet bowl INSIDE the house. Folks this is truly a breakthrough!
The treatment of Uche as a rape victim is abysmal. In Nollywood this is par for the course. On finding out about the rape and pregnancy instead of being Sympathetic, Uche’s mother in law exclaims “Abomination! You are a minister of God… you have the courage to throw your legs open for another man… Abomination! Armed robber.” Very much like having children rape is seen here as something that Uche controls. No blame is put on the man that carried out this monstrous act. In the film they even have Uche referring to the rape as “an accident” and her husband referring to it as “her indiscretion,” despite the very certain fact that he was the one to open the door for the armed robber. It truly is a sorry state of affairs. I wonder how many rapes go unreported in Nigeria?
IF YOU HAVE NOT WATCHED THE FILM DO NOT READ ANY FURTHER
In the end the baby turns out to be David’s and NOT the armed robber’s. We find this out when it is revealed that the baby has the same birthmark that David, his mother and all family members on that side of the family have. She is convinced that he will be convinced the baby is his and presents the baby to him. He is not willing to listen to anything she has to say and turns her away from the compound.
It is only when the doctor tells him the result of the secret DNA test that he administered that he feels guilt and realises the mistake that he has made. He then goes to Uche’s house and begs her for forgiveness. Of course as is customary she forgives him more or less immediately despite the diabolical way he has treated her. I would have liked to see Uche stand up to David more in the end, and even if she was going to go back to him she could have made him suffer a little.