Story – Sunny Collins
Screenplay & Director – Tchidi Chikere
Laz Ekwueme – King Idoto
Liz Benson – Mirabel
Kenneth Okonkwo – Promise
Hila Dokubo – Rhoda
Bruno Iwuoha – Benedict
Gentle Jack – Jekwu
Ini Edo – Uli
Geraldine Ekeocha – Thelma
Charles Awurum – Godwin
Class and Social Status
My Rating: 70%
Uli is warned by an elder in the village before she leaves for the city,
“The city girls dip their mouth in blood before they are going out… they call it lipstick”
I loved this imagery, not only was it vivid but it appealed to my humour too.
She is also warned by the same elder to never get, “talons like a witch” Uli is from a poor family in a village untouched by modernity. She is taken to a township (hey that’s what they called it in the film!) to become a housegirl for her uncle and his wife. It is her first time in the city.
We see Uli’s childlike amazement at all things technological. When a car goes past the house she hides behind the gateman because the sounds and speeds are unfamiliar to her. She is scared but at the same time in awe,
“It’s so beautiful!”
From becoming scared she becomes obsessed with the cars (In one day mind you!) This whole scenario seemed badly thought out in the sense that the filmmakers couldn’t decide whether she would be impressed by or frightened by the cars and so decided to make her both impressed and frightened which didn’t really make sense in my opinion.
Uli loves to watch the King’s procession of cars go by and positions herself every day to watch, she gleefully tells the gateman,
“Look how it shines like the sun! Me I like nice things o!”
We see the prince begin to take notice of Uli, he sees that she is there everyday watching the procession of cars go past. We also see how the Prince despite his royal background is a very humble man. On one occasion his driver lays out a red carpet for him to walk on from the house to the car and he refuses to walk on it, walking instead on the pavement beside the carpet. He also tells his driver off for calling Uli a stupid girl,
“You must stop calling people stupid. Are you better than that girl?”
Another day goes past and Uli waves at the Prince’s car excitedly as it goes past. On this day the Prince insists that the driver stops. Uli and the gateman see this and think that they are in trouble and so flee. The prince is stunned by this action, but because of their disappearance has no choice but to return back to his car.
The Prince, however has not forgotten Uli and returns to the house only to find the gateman and ask him as to Uli’s whereabouts. The gateman believes Uli to be in trouble for “waving her dirty hands” and begs for the prince to spare her as she is a “bush girl.” He runs in the house to tell Uli, “You are finished… he has come to arrest you.”
Of course that was not the reason that he came to the house. He came because he was intrigued at her apparent innocence and wanted to get to know her better.
The Prince does get to know Uli and becomes very fond of her, which leads to a marriage proposal. The queen is outraged that her son has brought in a girl with no social standing, wealth or worldliness and demeans her at every possible chance. The prince transforms Uli in terms of housing, clothing and acquaintance with the finer things in life and after the transformation takes her to his mother The Queen. The queen is very impressed this girl, not knowing that it is “Uli the village girl” and makes her approval well known. It is when he has her approval that her son the Prince reveals who Uli is. The Queen is shocked into silence and ends up begging for forgiveness. In the end they are married and both families are accepting of the union.
Although this film was simply told and told a million times before it is still one that you will enjoy watching. This film teaches us that social status, clothing and money do not make a person. All these things are changeable. The prince was a man of great social standing and still was a humble and compassionate person. The gateman was a man lower on the social ladder, and had no compassion for those that shared his same background. It also shows us that what a person was yesterday is not necessarily what they will be tomorrow. They are good lessons to learn.