Because of the noise that people were making on Facebook and the general hype all over the place I finally sat down to watch the movie. Shebi that was how I succumbed to promo and hype and came and went and watched Avatar and that Wakanda movie? Avatar, that dazzling fireworks display of new age cinematography and fantastic, almost phantasmagoric, plethora of life forms, infinitely enhanced by 3D magic. But beyond that, it’s just another sci-fi action-cum-love story and not so remarkable in that regard. Unsubtle, almost cliched love story and far from revolutionary sci-fi. Anyway, I probably would still have watched Citation sha – Netflix would not stop flashing it at me.
This movie, it just went on and on, haba! Some scenes were just too long. It took me four sittings over five days in two cities. They should kuku have done parts 1 & 2 as usual with Nollywood films. Focusing on the storyline and with good editing, it shouldn’t have been more than an hour and a half. It appears that Afolayan was trying to kill two birds with one stone. He melded a straightforward story with an exhibition show of West Africa, involving people and scenes from Ghana, Senegal, and Cape Verde representing Anglophone, Francophone, and Lusophone countries. It advertises the tourism market in Dakar and Cape Verde. The beautiful beaches and coastal scenery. Now, I want to go to Cape Verde. And Dakar. I liked the breathtaking ocean view from the cliff at Dakar. I wished for a moment to be transported to that magical spot gazing towards the horizon across the shimmering aquamarine waters. And the music – those Youssou N’dour tracks in the background, the Seun Kuti live performance.
That Temi Otedola girl, I praise the wisdom and good sense of the director for naming her after Moremi, that legendary Offa amazon that Ife people are laying claims to simply because she went to Ile-Ife and became their queen. For a first-timer, I think her performance was good but not perfect. Her charming naivete, boldly written on her face, coupled with her childlike innocence leads the predator on a bit. And those glances, those looks into the eyes of the professor, would have tickled many an innocent gentleman into having thoughts. Even if the thoughts are as soon banished. Remember the way she looks at him and asks him to stay with her to gaze at the sea from that elevated place? She should take it easy on campus, a beg. And men should lower their gazes and respect themselves. It is God’s commandment. Let me not comment on the sensuous quality of her French and her good looks. That her ajebo Yoruba sha, chai. But the way she gives the randy fool a kick in the crotch, that is heroic.
One unsatisfactory part of her acting is the looks on her face each time the yeye professor guy unblinkingly tells a fat lie to the panel. Her facial expression does not carry enough outrage for the obesity of the lies. And that lecherous professor can lie for Africa. Ehen, that his afro, is it real or is it a wig?
Ibukun Awosika plays her role with panache as chair of the investigating panel. Well, maybe not unexpected for a TV personality who has also presided over countless boardroom meetings which, I am made to understand, is not free of high drama. Hoary Sadiq Daba’s role could have been played by anyone else. But people like Sadiq add glitter to a movie even without uttering a word. Ditto Joke Silva. I think Afolayan simply wanted to pack the movie with stars.
The way the panel winds up is a bit loose for a movie that lingers unconscionably to provide detailed backstory. The verdict just pops out of a box. The professor is guilty of sexual harassment and an attempt to rape a student. It feels that the guy is punished for his past philandering based on a single witness whom Moremi herself brings into the picture. He could have been lying. The case against the rotten egg of a professor is suggestive but not rock-solid.
It’s satisfying that Professor Lucien N’Dyare finally shares the fate of Professor David Lurie in JM Coetzee’s masterpiece, Disgrace. For all his sophistication and academic achievements, he gets kicked out of the university for his debauchery. Let others beware. The picture quality is great. But if you are not so star-struck and not dazzled by the striking cinematography, you will see that the movie is not exceptional. To compare with another recent Netflix chart-topper with the related theme on the spectrum of women abuse, Oloture – a movie holding a torchlight to the horrors of women trafficking – I think this movie is not as memorable. Perhaps it’s because it’s less noir, less shocking, less haunting.
Another thing, this film does not seem to support the rumour that OAU has the most beautiful campus in the country. I suspect that this uncorroborated and oft-repeated propaganda has been disseminated by the alumni of Great Ife in the hope that most people would not bother to find out.
Ehen, why did they even do most of the shooting during the dry season when the grass was not green? They could have taken advantage of the verdure in the bucolic landscape at its greenest to enhance the visual spectacle.
Most importantly, the theme of the movie is timely and appropriate. It’s time for organizations, companies, schools and other institutions to have strong policies and comprehensive procedures for dealing with all forms of sexual harassment. People should be encouraged to speak up and when they do, they should be listened to and appropriate action taken. We should have zero tolerance for sexual harassment. We should destigmatize the act of speaking out. Sorosoke should be the watchword.