Tag Archives: Loneliness

Prince of the Niger

Prince of the Niger

Originally uploaded by NollywoodForever

Prince of the Niger ~ 2009
Story – Chidi Chijioke, Eriobu Chibuzor, Nwegwu Chinweike
Screenplay – Michael Jaja
Director – Michael Jaja

Starring:
Mike Ezuruonye – Johnbull
Jackie Appiah – Olamma
Ngozi Ezeonu – Nneomma
Queen Nwokoye – Kate
Fabian Adibe – Edward
Prince Nwafor – Frank
Ali Nuhu – Dennis
Rose Ofuzim – Obidia
Frank Ukaegbu – Obi
Ngozi Aliboye – Ngozi
Emeka Obi – Pastor

Themes Explored:
Mental Illness
Drug Abuse
Loneliness
Religion

Rating – 15%

Johnbull is a prince with mental health issues. He was in love with a girl who treated him badly in one way or another and as a result literally lost his sanity. He is staying in a hotel to get away from the pressures of his life. We see him screaming obscenities and abusing staff amidst the heavy weed smoking and senseless muttering to himself in his hotel room.

Kate works at the hotel where Johnbull is staying and Johnbull has taken a liking to her. She however is engaged to Frank who works at another hotel. Frank in the meantime is being accosted by an older lonely widow who wants him as a kept man. Both Kate and Frank are committed to each other but are finding it increasingly difficult to escape those that are after them.

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

The movie was shot in the present and then the story was told with flashbacks to the past. We see the Mike in traditional gear in the palace, but he appears by no means sane at this point so it is not clear at what point he lost his sanity and whether the weed or the madness came first.

It was a disappointing and directionless performance by Mike Ezuruonye. All the grunting and werewolfishness behaviour were just ridiculous. His character was highly unconvincing and unfocused. At one point he was jumping up and down in the hotel room screaming, “WHO AM I?” like his name was Jim Iyke. His “crazy” scenes in the hotel room seemed to go on forever and ever, and after a while it just got boring and annoying.

The movie could have been a good vehicle to discuss the link between marijuana and mental illness but the opportunity was not taken. The issue was skimmed over and the execution in general was poor. Nothing in this movie particularly grabbed my attention, it dragged on and after 50 minutes I could not even continue watching. I did fast-forward to the end of part one and it was just more of the same. This one is a drab, boring flick. Give this one a miss!

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Hope For Tomorrow

Hope For Tomorrow

Originally uploaded by NollywoodForever

Hope For Tomorrow ~ 2009
Story, Screenplay, Director – Tchidi Chikere

Starring:
Jim Iyke – Kay
Patience Ozokwor – Zelda Adams
Chinwe Owoh – Stella
Sana Kanu – Beatrice
Lanre Oluwale – Collins
Oluchi Ekeh – Nurse
Chuzy Hyman – Nurse 2
Ozioma Okere – Nurse 3
Ijeomah Azukah – Murphy
Prince. O. Mbanefo – Eddie

Themes:
Feminism
Mortality
Sacrifice
Loneliness

My Rating – 61%

In the opening scene we are the viewers of a conversation between two never been married, childless retired college professors. We learn a little about their past and what their hopes and fears are for the future. Despite having never married Zelda believes that even at 67 she can still find love. Zelda on the other hand has given up hope. She regrets not having had children and believes that a woman of a certain age does need people around to assist with certain things. In light of this she invites her sister’s son from the village to come and stay with her.

She enrols him in driving lessons and plans to get rid of her driver so that he can take over as driver. Her nephew Kay, on the other hand has aspirations of becoming a photographic model after a chance meeting with a photographer, Beatrice at a fast food restaurant. His Aunt Stella’s friend Zelda takes a shine to Kay and promises to help him realise his dream of becoming a model. She likes being around him as he makes her feel youthful and they become close friends, however this relationship is soon strained as his intention towards her is platonic and hers romantic.

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

In the advertisements before the movie starts I am already hearing Tchidi’s tunes, so I brace myself for a full onslaught. I am pleasantly surprised. He has changed the song from the one in particular that I have been hearing in his last few movies. Surprise surprise! No ringtones highlighting his songs either.
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In the beginning Kay played Jim was portrayed as a shy and naive village boy. Even though his aunt enrolled him in driving lessons believing that he did not know how to drive, he has in fact been driving for the past 2 years in the village. Rather than seeing his character as complex, I saw it as undeveloped. He is supposed to be shy and doesn’t speak much on arrival at his aunt’s place but then at the same time appears angry and ungrateful. When he and Zelda are having their photo’s taken at the fast food place by the photographer the way he is rolling his eyes at her being in al the pictures seems out of place. It was important for his character to be defined and this task was failed, perhaps as a result of poor direction and characterisation.

Choosing Jim as the character of Kay was poor casting. Jim does not have modellesque features or height. Zelda tells Stella on one occasion,

“This boy is a natural born model!”

Hmm which part I wondered? Even the poses at his stint in a photographic studio were awful. They did not say “model” at all. Then we have the fact that Beatrice wants to sell her body to get Kay a modelling contract. That alone should have showed her he is useless as a model! Then to top it all off at the end of the movie Jim gets a multi million naira modelling contract… AS IF!!!

I loved Sana Kanu’s performance. This is the first time I have seen her in any movie, and for a newcomer she was excellent. She poured passion and conviction into her performance. It was a shame that she and Jim did not have any chemistry together. If they had, it could have been magical.
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Feminism
It is as though the film was trying to say that these women became spinsters as a result of feminism, as if a feminist cannot be so and also have a family. Zelda tells Kay,

“Men came and came but I scared them away with my feminist beliefs.”

Which beliefs is she talking about? This whole aspect is not explored in full. Is she a feminist because she had a career? Is it because she likes watching CNN on a nightly basis? Is it because she admires Benazir Bhutto and cared about her death? Why would any of those things mean that you cannot have a husband or children?
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Highlights for me
There were some hilarious moments in the movie. At one point Zelda and Stella get into a physical fight because Stella calls Zelda a pervert. Zelda then says to Stella,

“Why did you hit me? Have you forgotten I have chronic indigestion?” HUH? What has indigestion got to do with it?

There is a scene with Zelda and Kay where he is berating her for behaving and looking like and old woman. He tells her,

“This your wig. I hate it! If you are 80, it makes you look 100. If you love me please get rid of it. It’s causing me so much pain.”

This scene is so funny because you would really think that he is talking about something serious, but no he is talking about her wig!
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Overall I would say that this movie is worth watching. Patience excelled even though not playing the evil mama roles she is known for, and even thought she plays a predatory character there is the underlying vulnerability in the character added complexity. I would have rated it higher if not for the repetitiveness towards the end of the movie. Kay was going back and forth between the two women; Zelda was flashing her cash to get Kay back and Beatrice insisting on selling her body every two seconds for the supposed advancement of Kay’s new career. It was paced steadily and brought up real issues like mortality and loneliness. There was a good, small cast so small chance for any waka passes to come and ruin it.