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Wole Soyinka childhood film – What will he say?

07 December 2015, 10:17Obidike Okafor

Lagos - When Wole Soyinka sees the film about his childhood memoirs what will he say? Will he smile and pour accolades on it, or will he frown and slash the flick to bits.

I saw the film. And if it (film) was anything like the actual memoirs, I wouldn’t read.

The film is Dapo Adeniyi’s love offering to a literary icon and Nigeria’s only Nobel laureate, Wole Soyinka. But this heartwarming gift turns into a 2 hour 45 minutes assemble of hits and misses (with more misses than hits).

The film shows all the sides of Nollywood in the special screening that was held at the MUSON center in Lagos.

It opens with a lot of promise as the unknown child actor who plays Wole Soyinka at the tender age of four, does so with professionalism barely exhibited by most kid actors in Nigerian films.

Typical Nollywood mode

The second child used to act as Wole Soyinka when he was 8-years-old, also gives a near sterling performance, which is somewhat strange for child actors in the Nollywood clime.

The promising opening  then moves into typical Nollywood mode of  providing  “unnecessary information” and exposes the screenwriter’s  desire to scoop every ounce  of detail  of the  230 pages into the  almost three hour film.

The film is not tight and hits too many things that do nothing for the film, forgetting that "less is indeed more".

For example the  animated cars parked outside the houses in the film, had no visual function,  the comic character nicknamed “Myself” added comedy but did not give substance to the film and as usual some of the scenes were predictably to long and slow paced.

Apart from outstanding stars like Taiwo Ajai-Lycett, Jimi Solanke and Yinka Davies, the other acts are obviously more of stage actors than film actors (yes there is a difference). From Wole Soyinka’s father to his mother and the father’s friend, they played their parts with the dramatics  of  stage  performers and made it look more like a stage play, then a film.

Poor transition

Research! Research! Research! - One can never over emphasize it. The film apart from not getting screen actors for the main casts, like a great number of Nollywood films, failed  in some aspects of proper research, as some of the costumes used did not belong to the 1930’s and 40’s as seen in the movie.

 Some of the children who provided the back ground for the actors wore modern t-shirts and the suit worn by the character who plays Wole Soyinka’s uncle was not worn in the 1940’s.

The voice over who narrates in some scenes of the movie sounds like he is reading a script, and the poor transition from one scene to another subtracts from the film and only leaves the viewer confused after a while.

Ake should have been centered  Egba women revolt through Wole Soyinka’s  eyes  or Wole Soyinka’s  scholastic journey into high school, which would have been the perfect storyline, but it only mixes these important points  in history into the many subject matters battling for relevance.

The overall quality of production was top notch, and the architectural structures used as locations for the film hit the mark, but in summary Ake leaves the viewer unsure of what they had just watched.

- News24

Tags cinema

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