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Desperate Soul

Desparate Soul

Originally uploaded by NollywoodForever

Desperate Soul ~ 2008

Story & Screenplay – Chidimma and Chidiebere Aneke
Directors – Evan Orji & Iyke Nkwueno

Starring:
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

Themes Explored:
Infertility
Promiscuity
Deception
Saving Face
Forgiveness

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.

*************SPOILERS*************

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!

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Distance Between

Distance Between

Originally uploaded by NollywoodForever

Distance Between ~ 2008
Story/ Screenplay – Remi Ibinola
Director – Izu Ojukwu

Starring:
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

Themes Explored:
Sexual Abuse
Incest
Friendship
Trust
Loyalty
Betrayal
Double Standards
“Saving Face”
Forgiveness

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.

*************SPOILERS**************

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.

Saving Face

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.

Power Of Promise

Power Of Promise

Originally uploaded by NollywoodForever

Power of Promise (2005)
Story and Screenplay – Chuks Okpala
Director – Ndubisi Okoh

Starring:
Ebube Nwagbo – Tracey
Tony Umez – Choma
Offia Ofuluagu Mbaka – Nnamdi
Diewait Ikpechukwu – Chief Simon Ekeh
Chinwe Owoh – Ijeoma Snr
Geraldine Ekeocha – Ogechi Snr
Dom Onu – Ezala
Queen Nwokoye – Jenny
Miracle Osadebe – Chika
Nkiru Okoli – Ijeoma Jnr
Happiness Ukas – Ogechi Jnr

Themes explored:
Arranged Marriage
Love
Covenant
Loyalty
Betrayal
Forgiveness
Infidelity
Infertility

My Rating 80%

Tracey and Nnamdi were born on the same day to parents that are very close friends. Their parents promised each other when they were babies that they would be married in the future. During university they become engaged to be married. Inseparable from childhood Nnamdi promises Tracey that they will marry after graduation and complteting Youth Service.

Before they get to this stage a spanner is thrown into the works. This spanner is called Choma. One day Tracey is walking on the roadside when she is splashed by a random driver. The driver is apologetic but Tracey is angry and refuses to accept his apology or offer of a lift.

The driver is persistent and follows Tracey to her destination, getting out of the car and apologising profusely until she is appeased and accepts his apology and business card. As you may have gathered already the driver is called Choma and from the day that he meets Tracey he begins to dream about her despite having a fiancée called Jenny. He even declares to his mother “I have found my wife” and dumps Jenny.

Despite Tracey’s indifference to him he is persistent and actively pursues her. His mother is also on Tracey’s case to “marry my son.” She knows Tracey as she visits her shop often and knows her to be a “decent girl” worthy of marriage. However she does not know that the girl that she is encouraging him to meet is the same girl that he is already after.

Will Choma ever win Tracey’s love?

*************SPOILERS AHEAD*************

To her mother’s dismay Tracey soon is planning to marry Choma without even informing Namdi her childhood love. He hears reports from his friends about her infidelity but she denies cheating on him, while treating him coldly and oftentimes ignoring him.

Before she marries Choma, Nnamdi is suddenly killed and named as an armed robber. Tracey is now free to marry Choma, but even in his death she behaves abominably refusing to even attend his funeral.

In time Tracey and Nnamdi are married and all appears to be well, and they are happy, it is not until years have passed and Tracey is still childless that problems begin to occur. Her mother in law makes her life unbearable and she feels that she cannot stay within the marriage.

It is at this point that she reflects on her previous actions and comes to the conclusion that it is her callous behaviour with Nnamdi that has led her to her barren state and so she goes to beg forgiveness from his parents. They eventually forgive her and she is at peace. Whilst she is there Nnamdi appears in the compound. The family are screaming and waling believing that his ghost has come to pay them a visit. They are not seeing things and Nnamdi is actually alive and has spent the past few years in South Africa in hiding. (that is a whole other story!)

After seeing Nnamdi Tracey is forgiven Nnamdi as well as his parents but is still not at peace. She returns to her marital home and is unsatisfied. She leaves her husband and goes back to Nnamdi’s house, places a knife to her heart and threatens to commit suicide unless he takes her back.
_____________

Ebube acted this well and it is a gut wrenching, tear jerking performance of a woman driven mad by a love wronged and lost. She claims that she would rather die than live without “true love.” Nnamdi is hesitant but agrees to take her back as she is about to plunge the knife through her heart.

It is a happy ending and the film ends with Nnamdi and Tracey getting married. Choma has forgiven them and turns up after the ceremony to present them with a jeep as a wedding gift to which he congregation give a rapturous applause. He then presents them his wedding invitation to his marriage with Jenny. I for one thought that was making it a bit toooooooooo happy… Okay one wronged lover takes their ex love back, but times TWO? Nah that doesn’t sound right!!!!
_____________

Overall I really enjoyed watching the film. The storyline was captivating and held my attention and the ending was beautiful if not a little too idealistic. Ebube in particular did a marvellous job as Tracey. The story flowed well and the soundtrack was on point and fitted well.

Secret Pain

Secret Pain

Originally uploaded by NollywoodForever

Secret Pain (2007)
Story and Screenplay – Peta Ofia Mbaka
Director – Yul Edochie

Starring:
Pete Edochie – Douglas
Desmond Elliot – Kenneth
Nkiru Sylvanus – Camila
Larry Koldsweat – Pluto
Louisa Nwobodo – Obidiya
Emeka Amakaeze – Donald
Linc Edochie – Roy
Tonto Dikeh – Julie
Adanne Aronu – Laura
Precious Kala –Angela
Jerry Freeborn – Julius

Themes explored:
Arranged Marriage
Forgiveness
Deceit
Charity

My Rating – 85%

Camila lives happily with her grandmother until a marriage proposal comes her way by a man called Donald. She does not like him on first meeting as he is arrogant and boastful, however on her grandmothers encouragement agrees to go on a date with him. It is a disaster and her disdain for him is intensified; he continually ogles other women and insists on swigging from a bottle of whisky throughout the date.

After this date he proposes marriage to her and she refuses. He is outraged at the rebuff and she receives a letter from him to say that unless she marries him the debt that her father owed his for the land that their house is built on will need to be paid in the coming months. Camila was not aware that her father owed his before his death and is distraught upon the devastating news.

She is adamant that she will not marry Donald and so Camila leaves the village to go and seek fortune in the city to save the house that she and her grandmother live in. We see that Camila is basically a good girl but her circumstances force her into doing some bad things. We learn from this film that sometimes essentially good people are driven by circumstance to do bad things.

This truly is an Edochie family affair with Yul presenting and Daddy Pete and Brother Linc making appearances! I would definitely recommend this film. It was well told/shot and some valuable lessons to be learnt. The only criticism I would have is that the development of Camila’s character was poor. From behaving one way she suddenly starting behaving in a different way and the transition wasn’t properly developed/ explored. Neither did we see true guilt during some of her actions which would be expected if she truly was the original character we as the viewer had been introduced to.

African Movie Film Nigerian Nollywood

The Laptop



The Laptop

Originally uploaded by NollywoodForever

The Laptop

Director – Yul Edochie

Starring:
Muna Obiekwe – Derek
McMorris Ndubueze – Chris
Uche Ogbodo – Nicky
Tammy Opasunju – Hanks
Dike Ngwegbu – Mrs Okonkwo
Stella Ikwegbu – Mrs Okonkwo
Vera Sam – Sandra
Lyn Harrison – Trinity

Themes Explored:
Love
Betrayal
Cultism

My Rating: 57%

This film isn’t as bad as it sounds. I know the title did put me of at first, however I was pleasantly surprised as it was better than I expected. The cast did a good job and the storyline was somewhat original. Perhaps calling the film “The Laptop” was a little too literal.

As is obvious a laptop plays an integral role in this film. The scenes are mainly between the campus and Nicky’s family home.

Nicky meets Chris on campus. He expresses interest in getting to know her better. They start of as friends and then he “toasts” her until she falls for him. They appear to be love’s young dream by all accounts.

However her new beau has a more sinister side to him that is soon to be uncovered.

 

If you have not watched this film, you may want to stop reading here

***SPOILERS***

Not long after the introduction of Chris into Nicky’s life her brother is the victim of a vicious beating whereby his laptop is stolen by thugs. This occurs because Nicky’s brother Derek is on his way to visit her on campus. En route he stops off to chat up a girl only to have the girl’s so-called boyfriend catch him and beat him to a pulp.

Because of this incident Derek does not get to meet his sister’s boyfriend. It is by chance, when his sister excitedly shows him a picture of her boyfriend that he finds out that this guy that his sister is seeing is in fact the perpetratorand prominent cultist.

He is desperate to get his laptop back as it contains his research work undertaken in the US. He reports the case to the police but as Chris is connected the DPO expressly says,

“There is nothing we can do.”

Driven by desperation Derek approaches a rival cult member to help him get his laptop back. A war ensues and at one point Derek shoots his girlfriend’s mother. He does not know that Nicky and Chris are related and thinks that it is solely Derek’s mother that he is shooting.

He does eventually find out that Derek and Nicky are brother and sister and appears to be truly remorseful for his actions, taking the step to return the laptop to Derek without consent from the cult members.

He then goes to beg forgiveness from Nicky and can you believe the dimwit actually accepts his apology after her friend tells her,

“just give him a try… He loooves you.”

NON-SENSE!!! Who gives a damn about love when this miscreant just shot your mother??? Plus he beat her brother to a pulp over ANOTHER GIRL! Let me say it one more time… NON-SENSE!!!

The film ends with Chris being shot by a member of his own cult. Nicky is there hollering, screaming and crying like a gatdamn fool.

WHY?

When he returns that laptop, Derek rushes to check that it is in good condition and that all his work is still on there. Why was I thinking… “DUDE!!! Your mother just got shot by this guy, who gives a frigg about a damn laptop!”

WHY?

Was Muna doing this eye rolling thing that made him look positively devilish?

WHY?

When they had this scene when Muna was thinking with the voiceover expressing his thoughts was the voice not Muna’s? that was WE-IRD!!!