Tag Archives: Mental Illness

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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Somewhere in my Heart

Somewhere in my Heart

Originally uploaded by NollywoodForever

Somewhere in My Heart ~2009
Story – Chidi Chijioke
Screenplay – Chidi Chijioke
Director – Ilochi Olisa Emeka

Starring:
Van Vicker – Chuka
Tonto Dikeh – Awole/ Joke
Jim Iyke – Caleb
Uche Jombo –
Browny Igboegwu – Young Edward
Malechi Chukwudebe – Damian
Chichi Ikeme – Uju
Adaku Fairison – Young Caroline
Zainab Egwuonwu – Mrs Umeh
Leo Awuzi – Mrs Umeh
Ofili Ugbo – Old Edward
Stephanie Isaac – Priscilla
Halima Abubakar – Mary
Zubby Michael – Johnson
Jude Onyegiri – Johnson’s friend
Ogbonna Okereke – Inspector
Umar Hammed – Doctor
Chinonso Okereke – Car Wash Boy

Themes Explored:
Mental Illness
Obsession

My Rating 37 %

Chuka lives with his mother in the city estranged for many years from his mother and brother who live in the village. The relationship between his parents ended on bad terms so when the day comes that Chuka wants to reconnect with his father, his mother is not happy about the situation at all. She does her best to dissuade him from going to the village to stay with his father, but it is all to no avail. Chukka packs up and heads to the village refusing to answer any phone calls his mother makes to him.

He reconnects with his father and brother in the village and at the same time falls head over heels in love with his brother’s girlfriend Awole, which ultimately brings about his downfall.

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

This movie is a nonsensical mess. I praise myself for making it through. At the end my head felt confused. There were do many unanswered questions… and not in a good way where I felt challenged, but in a WTH, what is this stupidness? Kind of way. Let me just get to the point and list all the issues I had with this movie:

1) The relationship between Chuka and Caleb was never really made clear. We know they are brothers but do they have the same mother and father or just the same father? Who was older? Had they had contact over the years? Same with the relationship between Chuka and his father. How often did they see each other before Chuka went to go and live with him. The whole picture was blurry for me.

2) At first I thought Chuka was obsessed with Awole because he was genuinely attracted to her. Of course all the anonymous letters were creepy but he claimed to love her and then was eyeing up the nurse in the hospital like a hound dog. So at this part confusion set in. Was he really feeling like it was love or is he supposed to be a psycho killer type.

3) Tonto falling in love with an imaginary guy was so ridiculous. I know that perhaps because she was supposed to be a village girl she was supposed to be naive but those notes he was sending her were hardly poetic to the extent that it would make you lose your mind, added to that that the guy could not even spell… How romantic! NOT. I’m thinking that the spelling errors were probably unintentional which if true makes the whole scenario even more sorrily pitiful.

4) Tonto I do like you a lot but the crying was waaaaaaay too much… On and on and on and on… Man I just wanted to punch her. Waaaaaaaah… Waaaaaaaaaaah… Waaaaaaaaaaah… Tonto started off well and then it all went to pot. In the beginning she had the village girl accent and mannerisms down pat. The broken English, the coy behaviour, and then from nowehere comes a more assertive Tonto with a Faux British accent. Which Kind nonsense be dis eh? She hadn’t even left the village. She was still wearing the same rags and hanging out with her village champion boyfriend Caleb. Nothing had happened to cause the changes but all of a sudden she morphed into sophisticated city girl mode. It is unbelievable to me that not even one person on set would say to her, “Hold up Tonto… you have slipped out of your character.” How could not one person notice?

5) At a point Awole is in the hospital and Chuka tells Caleb he will look after her as Caleb doesn’t want her to be left alone. Awole tells Chuka, “The only reason you wooed me into sleeping with you was to dump me.” Where the hizell did this assertion come from? How can he even dump her when they were never boyfriend and girlfriend? Did Chuka rape her or what? The only evidence we as the viewer see of a sex scene taking place is a black screen and some barely audible grunts. I only even clocked this because I rewound after figuring out that they were meant to have slept together. If indeed it was rape as it appears to be, why is it being referred to as “seduction”? To refer to rape as “seduction” is very insulting to women the world over and shows a very ignorant chauvinistic viewpoint of male/ female relationships.

6) When and how did this “seduction” take place.

7) Why would she sleep with him when she had already decided that she was in love with her secret admirer, had a boyfriend and did not even know he was the admirer at the time.

8) Awole’s death was super stupid. It was as if this story was being made up as they were going along. I was just watching like, “Huh?” Chuka pushed her slightly and then BAM she bangs her head against the wall and is dead just like that. He barely even pushed her and her head barely even touched the wall… NONSENSE!

9) At the beginning of part 2 Caleb and Awole are at the meeting spot jubilating about something or another and we hear Jim Iyke being directed by someone off set to pick Tonto up. If you listen you can hear a mans voice say, “Pick her up.” And then he picks her up. This is soooooo not a good look. If you can the directors voice you need to reshoot, no ifs and buts about it.

All the above mentioned are issues that I had with part 1&2. There is also a part 3 (more rubbish but still I persevere) This seemed a bit disjointed from the rest of the film. It is here we meet Halima and Uche. After killing Awole Chuka flees to the city. Here goes the issues I had with the part 3:

1) The first 8 minutes of part 3 is spent watching Uche Jombo getting dressed and ready to go out. There is no need for such a long scene. It is pointless and mind numbing.

2) Halima does a stripping scene to seduce Van’s character and underneath her clothes her “naked” attire is some bulky ass denim shorts. Tip: If you can’t make it realistic… don’t bother.

3) At the end Jim confronts Chuka and says, “Don’t tell me you had anything to do with Awole’s death?” What kind of stupid question is that? Was he not there after she died and Chuka was blamed? Why are you acting shocked now?

To conclude, as I am sure you may have already guessed. I would not recommend this film. It was confusing and somewhat of a mess. It was what I would call improvisation. Everybody appeared to be working off their own direction and nothing was coming together. Tonto started off well and then it all went a bit haywire. Van was adequate. His blank facial expressions tied in with being a psycho killer devoid of emotion, however his character was a mystery to me. I don’t know what was trying to be achieved with him. Uche is looking nice and trim. Halima‘s character had no need to be in the film. What was the point of her except to flaunt her body and act like a sex kitten?

The film did not seem to end and we are introduced to Awole’s twin Joke. Where on earth did she come from and what is her story? We don’t find out before the film ends which woukd indicate a continuation perhaps? There were too many long non dialogue pointless scenes that should have hit the cutting room floor. In short… FLOP!

Act of Faith

Originally uploaded by NollywoodForever
 
 

 

 

Story, Screenplay & Direction by Ikenna Emma Aniekwe

 

 

ACT OF FAITH

 

Starring:

Mercy Johnson – Uche

Mike Ezuruonye – Lesley

Halima Abubakar – Dr Lovela

Patience Ozokwor – Lesley’s mother

Ify Afuba – Uche’s mother

Ifeanyi Azodo – Dr Bayow

Chizzy Okiche – Tina

 

 

Themes

 

Marriage

Religion

Fertility

Mental Illness

Rape

 

My Rating 78%

 

 

The first thing I noticed was that the spelling of the film was different to that that was on the cover. One said Act of Faith and the other Acts of Faith. Get it together marketers!!!

 

A couple, Uche the pastor and Lesley the pastor’s husband are hounded by the Lesley’s mother for “refusing to produce grandchildren.” It is said as if kids are eggs for sale in the supermarket and as if every act of sex is a guarantee of a child. This is a recurring theme in Nollywood, and it is always the grandparents (normally grandmother) acting as if their daughter (in law) has personally abused them by not having a child in the “required” time. Impotence is looked upon as a curse and something that one brings upon themselves. There is no sympathy bestowed on those who do not have children and want them or those who are infertile in the sense that there is in the west. Women are hounded the most and the blame is most often put on them as opposed to the man.

 

One day armed robbers break into the home and Uche is raped. While at the hospital she is mute and not responding to anyone so the doctors suggest moving her to a psychiatric ward. Her mother is distraught and begs her to “pray herself out” of the situation. Even in the psychiatric ward the psychotherapist played by Halima whips out the bible when she is perturbed by the patient howling at her. She then gets Uche’s mother to read bible verses to her until she calms down. The issue of religion and all that surrounds it is so pervasive in Nigerian society that it even infiltrates even medical establishments as a bonafide method of treatment.

 

Not long after the rape we find out that Pastor Uche is preggers. *SHOCK HORROR* Come on now! Why does every rape victim in a Nigerian film have to fall pregnant? How unrealistic is that? Let someone be a little bit original and shoot a film where rape occurs and the victim does not fall pregnant. However I must give kudos because it is the first time ever that I am seeing morning sickness not in the morning, outside. Uche actually throws up in the toilet bowl INSIDE the house. Folks this is truly a breakthrough!

 

 

The treatment of Uche as a rape victim is abysmal. In Nollywood this is par for the course. On finding out about the rape and pregnancy instead of being Sympathetic, Uche’s mother in law exclaims “Abomination! You are a minister of God… you have the courage to throw your legs open for another man… Abomination! Armed robber.” Very much like having children rape is seen here as something that Uche controls. No blame is put on the man that carried out this monstrous act. In the film they even have Uche referring to the rape as “an accident” and her husband referring to it as “her indiscretion,” despite the very certain fact that he was the one to open the door for the armed robber. It truly is a sorry state of affairs. I wonder how many rapes go unreported in Nigeria?

 

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

IF YOU HAVE NOT WATCHED THE FILM DO NOT READ ANY FURTHER

 

 

In the end the baby turns out to be David’s and NOT the armed robber’s. We find this out when it is revealed that the baby has the same birthmark that David, his mother and all family members on that side of the family have. She is convinced that he will be convinced the baby is his and presents the baby to him. He is not willing to listen to anything she has to say and turns her away from the compound.

 

It is only when the doctor tells him the result of the secret DNA test that he administered that he feels guilt and realises the mistake that he has made.  He then goes to Uche’s house and begs her for forgiveness. Of course as is customary she forgives him more or less immediately despite the diabolical way he has treated her. I would have liked to see Uche stand up to David more in the end, and even if she was going to go back to him she could have made him suffer a little.

Emergency Wedding

EMERGENCY WEDDING

Starring:
Genevieve Nnaji – Joy
Tony Umez – Odili
Clarion Chukwurah – Stella
Emanuel France – The Mad Professor
Jennifer Eliogu – Comfort
Jude Ezenwa- Chima
Christy Okonkow – Bridget

THEMES EXPLORED IN THE FILM
Hypocrisy of the “religious”
Gender Roles (The role attached to man as the “provider”)
Stigma of Mental Illness
Stigma attached to unmarried women of a certain age

 

MY RATING – 97% 

 

 

Well… nothing has changed with Tony Umez. He is still a useless actor with a twisted up mouth and annoying way of speaking. Luckily he isn’t as awful as he has the potential to be in this film.

The story goes like this:

Joy and Odili are a married couple with two children. Odili was laid off his job over a year ago and so his wife Joy supports the family.

In the opening scene we see Odili arguing with his wife, (or I should say really himself as his wife is not doing much responding) about his situation. He is angry with Joy because she has hidden his sleeping tablets. she does not want him to become dependent on them and he gets worked up because he feels that she is emasculating him by being the breadwinner, as well as being him feeling generally down about being deserted by his friends and mocked by outsiders.

One day Odili is handed a life line by his friend Chima. Chima has been offered a business contract worth 5 million Naira, which he wants to collaborate on with Odili. However there is a catch. Odili needs to give Chima 500, thousand naira for the deal to go ahead, which of course he does not have. He tells his wife about the situation and in a loving and generous gesture she offers him her entire savings of 80, thousand naira which Odili nastily throws back in her face. This is the beginning of their relationship breakdown.

If you have not watched this film you may want to stop reading here.
*************SPOILERS*************

Odili is desperate and willing to do anything, and when I say anything I mean ANYTHING to acquire this money so that he can be the breadwinner again. This is where Stella played by Clarion comes in. Stella is in say her late 30’s and unmarried and is willing to go to any means necessary to catch herself a husband. Of course Clarion excels in the role as woman scarred by desperation. It is roles like this when she is in her element.

Odili approaches Stella to ask for a loan so that he can complete the deal with Chima. He has less than a week to get the money, so time is of the essence. We find out that Stella and Odili have a history. In fact Odili knew Stella before his wife, and they embarked on an on off romantic relationship over the years in which it appears that Odili used Stella for sex and money and was not interested in wedding her, which is apparent when he marries Joy, a new woman in his life.

Stella, bitter from being duped by Odili refuses to give him the money unless he gives her the thing she craves for the most – A commitment, which means marriage. Odili in his desperation agrees to this, as long as the marriage can be kept secret.

I thought her desperation was a bit far fetched, not so much in that she would go as far as bribing a man to marry her, but in that she would brag about bribing a man to her friends, after all would that not be embarrassing? When Stella tells a friend that she meets on the road about how she bribed Odili into marrying her, the friend is all praises and,

“gimme five giiiiiiiirl!”

As if, essentially paying somebody to marry you is the best thing in the world! Are some women really that desperate?

Is that the result of society stigmatising unmarried women out of their twenties?

And if indeed some women are that desperate would they really shout out their scheming plans from the rooftops as if it were something to be proud of?

One thing that stood out for me in the film was the use of the Lord’s name in vain. Chidi asks Odili where he got the money from and he concocts a fantasy story about an Old School friend returning from the United States, exclaiming,

“I knew God would do it for me!” in an attempt to obviously shut Chidi up, were he thinking of asking any further questions with regards to the acquisition of the money. I found it an absolutely ridiculous statement to make at the same time, considering that it was his ungodly, lies deceit and cheating that allowed him to get his hands on the money.

Genevieve Nnaji shows great versatility in this role and does a great job in portraying someone who is mentally ill following the curse put on her by Stella. Her paranoia and disassociation are ON POINT!

Emmanuel France too is great as the “Nutty Professor.” The scattered speech and gross delusions of grandeur are perfected to a T. I love that he invites Joy into his “mansion” which in actuality is a broke down hut with a dirt floor and filthy battered objects cluttering the place.

In this film it can be seen that the idea the mental illness is caused by possession by the devil or a Juju curse still pervades. The film reinforces this in that we see the start Joy’s insanity after Stella’s Juju ceremony. It would be nice for mental illness to be portrayed in a way where it is not characterised by evil spirits. In a way where you can not just wake up one morning, rub your eyes and become sane again because the one who cursed you died, as happens in this film.

Overall I enjoyed the film. I thought it explored themes that are very important for us to consider and explore in today’s society. The film was up tempo and kept you engrossed. The cast were excellent and played their roles very well. I also liked the fact that they kept it in one part, and still managed to fit in a well developed plot.

Nollywood Production – Nigerian Movie – African Movie – African Film – Nigerian Film

One Dollar

ONE DOLLAR ($1)

An Ifeanyi Azodo Screenplay

Directed by Gabriel Moses

 

Starring:

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

Mental Illness

Status and Class

America as the Promised Land

Family Pressure

 

 

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,

 

“Amer-EEE-Ka!”

 

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,

 

“foreign envelope”

 

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.

 

 

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

 

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,

 

“Amereeeeeeeeeeeeeka!”

 

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