ONE DOLLAR ($1)
An Ifeanyi Azodo Screenplay
Directed by Gabriel Moses
Patience Ozokwor – Mama Nneka
Victor Osuagwu – Papa Nneka
Chiege Alisigwe – Nneka
Bob Manuel Udokwu – Pat
Jim Iyke – Ike
Big Fredo – Chief Achebe
Okwudili Oguegbu – Calistas
Oge Okoye – Isioma
Chinwe Okigbo – Chika
Ify Obidike – Chioma
Larry Koldsweat – Mike
THEMES EXPLORED IN THE FILM
Status and Class
America as the Promised Land
MY RATING – 95%
From the title of the film alone you know that this film is going to have something to do with the US of A, but quite what is not immediately apparent from just looking on the film cover.
Nneka lives with her mother and father, and is been put through school by her fiancé whom she plans to marry very soon. Her parents really like him as he has put their daughter through school as well as looked after the family financially in other ways.
One day a man, called Chief Achebe comes to Nneka’s compound and approaches her parents. He has a son that wants to marry their daughter. He shows them a picture and they do not seem impressed. They quickly tell him that it is not possible as their daughter is betrothed to another. Chief Achebe is dassappointed, and mentions that his son is an engineer in America. The turn around is instant. Mama and Papa Nneka exclaim in disbelief,
All of a sudden Pat, Nneka’s fiancé is forgotten and they promise their daughter to the chief. It seems that Nneka does love Pat, so they now have the task on their hand in persuading their daughter to marrying the chief’s son.
America is so romanticised that as soon as even the word America is mentioned, the attitudes of people in the presence of the word, as well as the music in the film changes.
Family pressure and guilt is put upon Nneka. It is put to her as if to marry the man in America will be beneficial for ALL the family and for her not to go ahead with it will be an act of selfishness.
Her mother tells her,
“Your father and I have really suffered.”
They act as though she is selfish, when mama Nneka in particular is the selfish one,
“This is the only opportunity I have to go to America.”
She is also concerned with keeping up with her peers,
“Look how mrs ______ life has changed since her daughter married an American… She is not the same again.”
Her father even uses “God” to try and show why his daughter should marry the American as opposed to Pat,
“I’m telling you America is God’s kingdom on Earth.”
There are many references in the film of America as a “heaven.”
There is not only pressure from her family but from her friends too. She is warned by her friend who is played by Oge Okoye,
Dollar rules the world baby girl, and you are still thinking… Dollar is everything, don’t forget that.”
There is never any mention of her emotional needs but rather the focus is solely upon her material needs and the desire for showing off.
In Chief Achebe’s camp we see him giving a man 50,000 Naira to change in dollars. He tells the man to put the money inside a,
This isn’t the only way he attempts trickery upon Nneka’s family. He also sends her parents a package containing “American clothes,” which in actuality are second hand garments which have been laundered and sprayed with perfume.
It is hilarious when he hands them the package and they sniff the clothes exclaiming,
“The smell of America!”
If you have not watched this film you may want to stop reading here.
After much persuasion from family and friends Nneka’s position sways. She begins snubbing Pat, becoming insufferable towards him, and plans are put in motion for Nneka to marry the American. A family member stands in for him at the ceremony so Nneka is married without ever meeting her husband.
When we finally meet The American, Ike played by Jim Iyke we find out why the Chief was so keen to marry him off and to keep the couple apart until after the wedding.
On our introduction to Jim Iyke we see him playing the stereotypical crass American loudmouth wannabe rapper (What a surprise!). He is screaming like a lunatic,
“I’m getting motherfuckin married yo.”
His mental health issue becomes quickly apparent. His mama asks Chief,
“Has he taken his drugs?”
It turns out that without his drugs Ike is uncontrollable and psychotic. The film ends with Ike shooting papa Nneka in the ass amidst a rambling tirade. As Papa Nneka is writhing on the floor in pain he shrieks out,
It is as if he is in disbelief that someone that has committed such an awful act against him could be associated with the “heaven” called America. The film serves as a warning not to idealise something that you know little about as the reality may surprise you and literally, or more likely metaphorically shoot you in the ass!
Overall I thoroughly enjoyed the film. The only downside was the rushed ending. It was hilarious in parts and highlighted the fact that many things in America are the same as in Nigeria, like the second hand clothes that Nneka’s parents treasured and the money that was changed from Naira to dollars only to be changed back to Naira again in order to be used. It shows that the grass is not always greener. Is sanity not more important than money?
Nollywood – Nigerian Movie – African Movie – Nigerian Film – African Film