Originally uploaded by NollywoodForever
Desperate Soul ~ 2008
Story & Screenplay – Chidimma and Chidiebere Aneke
Directors – Evan Orji & Iyke Nkwueno
Patience Ozokwor – Gertrude
Tony Umez – Michael
Roy De’nani – Chief Morris
Queen Nwokoye – Dora
Chidimma Aneke – Padita
Chidiebere Aneke – Benita
Abraham Nwodu – Dillion
Uchenna Nnanna – Alicia
Pat Edeh – Ralph
Cosol Ugochukwu – Bill
Stella Ukwuegbu – Queen
Chichi Chikere – Mr Ude
Sarah Alex – Jane
John Mac Ihechi – Tony
Chijioke Udefuna – Simon
Chinonso Udefuna – Belinea
Nonso Agbo – Young Man
My Rating: 66%
Dillion and Benita have been married for 4 years but have not managed to have children despite both being checked by the doctors and found to be perfectly fertile. Dillion cannot bear the shame of childlessness any longer and so gives Benita and ultimatum. She has nine months to bear him a child or he will throw her out and bring in a new wife to carry out her wifely “duty.” She is in a tough situation because he has given her this ultimatum yet at the same time does not want to sleep with her? So how on earth is she meant to conceive a child?
Before the 9 months is even up Dillion throws Benita out, sending her back to her mother’s house where her twin sister also lives. In desperation she cooks up a plan with her mother and sister to get her husband back.
Saving Face is a big theme in so many Nollywood films. As the viewer I got the feeling that Dillion’s desperation for a child was not because it was something that he really wanted, it was simply to prove his manliness to other men and society at large. Being married for so many years and not bearing a child is a situation that he feels embarrassed and humiliated by. He exclaims at one point,
“My friends mock me… I feel so much humiliation everywhere I go.”
Despite the fact that both Dillion and Benita have been checked by a doctor and declared fine the blame for childlessness always falls on the woman’s head. Even when tests haven’t been done it is still the woman that bears the blame. We see Benita praying, whilst crying and wailing,
“Please Lord I need a child to prove to the world I’m not barren.”
Even in her prayers for a child it is what people will think of her barrenness that consumes her as opposed to actually desiring a child.
It is odd that Benita’s husband that has been married to her for 4 years cannot tell the difference between her and her sister. He does not even appear to have any suspicions as to her identity. On the contrary Bill who slept with Benita’s sister Padita casually before dumping her and running off to America is so assured of Padita’s identity even though she tries to lie to him and pretend she is Benita.
Women always seem to get the short end of the deal and perhaps this is reflective of Nigerian society at large. We see Bill and his mother come and snatch Padita’s son from her. She has to go to his house and beg him to see her child, only to have him threaten her, “I will kill you!” What a cheek! Was he not the one who was disinterested when she announced her pregnancy to him? Was he not the one who abandoned her and ran off to America. It beggars belief! The guy that played Bill, Cosol Ugochukwu was excellent in his role as the enraged, self entitled man on a mission. He was comical too, particularly the part where he rumbles Padita as Benita. When Dillion asks who he is he animatedly screams at him in disbelief, “I am B-I-L-L,” before making moves to snatch the child.
In the end Dillion is left without the son he so much wanted to prove his manliness as Padita returns to Bill. Benita begs for Dillion’s forgiveness only to find out he has HIV, perhaps a result of his promiscuity during their split. Her other sister who was all for her going back to her husband at any cost is disgusted and grabs her to leave the hospital despite her crying and clinging onto him.
There are good lessons to be learned. Always treat others as you would expect to be treated. Dillion threw Padita out of the house without any concern for her feelings over something that she had no control over. On the other hand we see how Benita differs as we can see that she was willing to stay with Dillion after she found out he had HIV. She had compassion for him even though he probably got the HIV through his promiscuity which he did have control over.
I would recommend the movie. It was a bit of a slow burner but all in all it was an enjoyable watch. This is the second time I have seen the twins in a movie, and not only did they act out their roles convincingly they were also responsible for the story and screenplay. I’m sure we will see bigger and better things from them in the future!