Originally uploaded by NollywoodForever
Distance Between ~ 2008
Story/ Screenplay – Remi Ibinola
Director – Izu Ojukwu
Rita Dominic – Preye
Kalu Ikeagwu – Ike
Yemi Blaq – Akin
Mercy Johnson – Mosun
Ashley Nwosu – Mr Taylor
Kassandra Odita – Mrs Taylor
Debbie Ibinola – April
Vivian Pius – Mrs Ajayi
Frankincense E. Ben – Young Man
Sandra Ejiogu – Small Mosun
Nicole O’Neil – Small Preye
Charles Waran – Nick
Emeka Duru – Dolapo
Oluchi Ukagba – Viola
My Rating – 88%
I was excited about watching this film because of the great cast. Who better to play the main roles that Rita, Kalu, Mercy and Yemi? This film started excellently for me. The camera shots alone were stylishly done and the angles that were shot at were on point. At the beginning of the film we see Mercy Johnson sitting and looking through some photographs and the credits are lined up to be on the back of the photographs as she flicks through. This was a very nice touch. Big kudos to whoever thought of that!
The film starts from the present day and works backwards with flashbacks from the past thrown in. Mercy Johnson plays a woman called Mosun and Rita Dominic plays a woman called Preye (name sounds Indian to me). They are best friends from childhood into adulthood. In the opening scene we see Mosun, her daughter and Preye. We are invited to listen to Mosun’s thoughts. She looks on at her best friend playing with her daughter and says (in her head),
“That’s my best friend Preye. I worry leaving my daughter at her house but it is a proof of trust. Well… I don’t trust her. I can’t look at her and not feel guilty. I guess she needs me.”
The scene is emotionally charged. As Preye flicks through the photographs we see Preye playing with the child and her cheek stained with tears. This scene is thought provoking and immediately questions began running through my mind. Why doesn’t Mosun trust Preye? Why is Preye crying? Why does Mosun feel guilty? Why does Preye NEED Mosun?Why does Mosun feel the need to prove that she trusts Preye?
It is not long before we gain an insight into the women’s characters. In one scene we see them in a club and Mosun sits quietly by the bar wearing glasses, (this had to be mentioned because I wondered what was the need to have her wearing glasses, when beforehand she was not wearing them in the house or in the car on the way to the club. Who wear glasses to the club? What does she need to look at so bad when she didn’t need them in the house or the car? LOL) and contrarily Preye is in the middle of the dance floor, dancing wildly between two men, watched by a horrified Mosun.
Later on after the club Preye brings the two men home to engage in a threesome, confessing to Mosun in the morning that she feels “dirty.” It would appear from the conversation between the friends after the threesome episode that scandal has plagued Preye since their schooldays in SS1. I wonder why then Mosun was so shocked in the club? Having Mercy looking so aghast was a little unrealistic. As Preye had been gossiped about with regards to her promiscuous behaviour for so long that Mosun should have been used to it.
We find out that the root of Preye’s wild and promiscuous behaviour is the sexual abuse she endured as a child in the hands of her uncle. It is as though by taking control of her sexuality and becoming a seductress in such a dominant way she is trying to wash away that feeling of being powerless as a child. It would also seems that by these men falling for her moves she sees it as them loving her. She takes rejection harshly, telling one man that refused her advances, “but sex is an expression of love.”
By contrast Mosun is the complete opposite to Preye, disgusted by the idea of casual sex and dowdily dressed to downplay her sexuality. She too has been a victim of child sexual abuse at the hands of her step-father. Mercy Johnson adapts to any role that she is given and being the sex kitten that she is still managed to play the frigid dowdy woman perfectly. I don’t know why she was looking all seductive on the movie cover though!
The film effectively conveys the two polar opposite effects of sexual abuse. The promiscuous and the frigid. Mercy is said to be suffering from Vagmismus… Please it is Vaginismus! (These small errors really makes a difference!) Nevertheless it is good to see real conditions being explored instead of some fake conditions that these Nollywood films sometimes come up with.
Double Standards abound
Preye starts an affair with Ike with whom she is working with. One day they are in bed after lovemaking and he breaks the news to her that he is engaged. To his horror Preye announces that she too is engaged and it is funny to see his face look totally shocked as if it is ok for him to be attached and sleep around but not ok for her. He asks her how can she be with him if she is engaged and she reverses the question. He is speechless.
On another occasion Preye is frolicking with Ike in the office when his fiancée pays and unexpected visit. She does not see anything untoward and begins talking to Ike about wedding plans. Preye uses the opportunity to pull her own wedding invitation out of her bag and hand it to his fiancée. Ike is gobsmacked and later calls her back to the office to question why she is getting married since she is involved with him. There is almost an arrogance in that he assumes she should devote all her energies to him, an attached man and have no one else, meanwhile it is fine for him to have both and not be questioned about it.
Despite Akin wanting to marry Mosun he goes ahead to marry Preye at Mosun’s insistence that she could not face the embarrassment of being jilted. He does this to keep up appearances despite knowing that she sleeps around and with every intention to carry on the affair with her friend.
THINGS I DIDN’T GET
There was a scene where we see Ike’s ex fiancee meet a guy in a car and tell him to finish off someone properly since “it didn’t work the last time.” I don’t know what the point of that exchange was as we never find out who she was talking about or what happened.
The tampon scene was a mystery to me. Was it necessary for us to see Preye’s blood soaked tampon to realise that she was not pregnant? She had already expressed that she was having difficulty conceiving. A pregnancy test would have sufficed. This was creativity taken to another level! And to top that we then see Akin look into the UNLINED dustbin and pull out the UNWRAPPED BLOODY tampon and sigh. I mean come on! I have never heard of a woman disposing an unwrapped tampon in an unlined bin in her BEDROOM!!! UNREAL!
I would definitely recommend this film! The film was a joy to watch. The sound was perfect and the style of the whole film was very arty. The main four played their roles fantastically and there is no one in the supporting cast that I could find fault with. The treatment of the abuse/incest was sensitively handled and the complexities of friendship explored. Despite their problems with each other the two friends battle to make their friendship work and have an understanding of each other and are able to forgive because each knows and understands what the other has been through and the negative impact it has in their current lives. Wee see Mosun’s character develop. She loses the judgemental attitude that she carries in the beginning. This change comes through experience. She realises her faults and so learns to accept her friend’s fault without judgement. We At the end of the film we hear Preye’s thought monologue and as it was about to start I thought about how Mosun had slept with her friend’s husband despite being what one would call the perfect friend before that and then I heard Preye’s thought,
“Sometimes good people do bad things.”
It ended the film beautifully and summed up the thoughts that were in my head. All I could do was nod in agreement. So true.