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Category : Ramblings

05 Oct 2016

Back to Basics

It has been almost two years since I blogged. I decided to take my website down because of the constant tug of war in my heart, my discomfort at putting my personal business on the internet. This affected my writing profoundly and made me put on a persona. That persona has helped write short stories. That persona has helped me finish my first novelette.

Things are better and I think I have a better grasp at handling the treacherous line between privacy and authenticity on the internet. So here I am, back to blogging.
I will, of course bring back some of my old posts, because they are well worth their weight in gold. If you read my blog as of two years ago, you will be very familiar with my Dear Behati series – letters I wrote to my unborn daughter. There is also the In Pleasure We Trust essay, my 21 Lessons at 21 and Heartbreak Chronicles.
I am not sure I have the balls to put up my short stories here. I feel like those stories are not mine; in the sense that I read them and I feel a certain detachment. Simi Oba-Pedro wrote those, not me. I will see where this road leads to, and I will be sure to put up a page for my works of fiction.
The easiest thing to start with is writing book reviews. I read at least four books every week and it is a field day in my head. As a writer myself, I am looking out for the things that interest me: discordant yet seamless plots, simplicity of language, fallible characters, a dark sense of humor and over-reliance on metaphors. As a reader, I simply want to have a really good read and a time-out in my brain. A time-out for me means a break from reality. I wrote reviews about eighteen months ago for a literary platform but I was dropped like a hot potato. It is hard for me to discredit a person’s work. Art forms in my opinion, are the most difficult platform to find coherent expression so people should get something for putting in effort. While that opinion has matured over time, I’m still reluctant to tear down. So, I will try to put my sentiments at bay and constructively criticize. I will also keep it short and simple.
I must mention that my best piece of technology in the world is the Kindle Fire. *drops mic* I have been reading with it for the past four months. Please note that when I’m mentioning the number of pages in my review, it is tailored to a font, margin and line spacing of my choosing. If you are not an avid reader, a book review is not necessarily a plot summary and it will never replace reading the book.
Will I blog about other things? Maybe. Probably. I am in this roller coaster too so till then.

27 Aug 2016

Review: October 1st

I think Tunde Babalola  and Kunle Afolayan should work together more often. I’ve been waiting for something from K.A since ‘The Figurine’ and I’m glad I waited. Good things take time and October 1st, really, is a good thing.

I’m glad that I can finally do a review of a Nigerian movie. I’ll try hard not to be a spoiler too.

I was very skeptical of going on with the movie after the first scene (the same happened with ‘Tango with Me’ by Mahmood Ali-Balogun and Femi Kayode) but I’m glad a friend literally dragged me to watch it.

This movie is a beautiful melting pot needed for present day Nigeria. It brings the three major tribes and languages (dialects inclusive), history, tradition, family, education, religion, politics and its turpitude, society structures and its failings, idiosyncrasies, music, food and even our natural hair together!

I’m very particular about our society’s response to any form of sexual abuse. It used to be a hush-hush thing. I’m glad that pedophilia and homosexuality were embedded in a historical story because it’s not a new thing. It struck me that the audience’s response to the scenes and stories of abuse in the movie was humor (the audience I watched the movie with, that is). Vulgar jokes and obscene comments were made and ripples of laughter emerged from corners. I’m still exploring the subject. Are we laughing about it because we don’t know the appropriate reactions? Are we laughing to hide some hidden pain?

Let me just put this out there: nobody blamed the male victims for the abuse they endured. But we were quick to ask Bisi why she was at the stream that late. Enlightening aye?

I’m not sure but I think it’s a ‘white’ thing to react about abuse. There is no shade to that statement. We are so used to hushing and breaking our back over our pain. We are used to laughing. We are used to hardening our hearts and eyes. I think it was an overkill that someone went on a raping and killing rampage because he was abused by his Catholic priest (spoiler alert!) in the year 1960 in Nigeria.

And yes, the makeup artist did a bad job with the Oba’s beard. It looked chalky? Inspector Afonja (Kayode Aderupoko, I really like you.

Misuse of power in the hands of the government and religion were two subjects explored. Covering up facts, taking advantage of ignorance and serving selfish purposes were clearly highlighted. I’ve noticed that Blacks and Africans are the most subscribers to any form of religion. Are we looking for a Messiah? Why are we in dire need of hope? Why else would you hand over your 12year old son to a stranger?

I believe Chimamanda Adichie’s ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’ was bad news for the movie market because the movie I watched wasn’t the story she told. Her story was complete. The movie version served its purposes. It removed some vital elements and it became an exhausting lopsided evil grin.

I like that facts were not apologized for yet there weren’t negative emotions attached to them. I felt like Kunle Afolayan wasn’t trying to get me on his side, or on the side of any of the characters or tribe or theme for that matter. He was telling a story and that was all there was to it. He wasn’t stirring up any flames, he was giving you a flashlight: to look into your own heart, your history and your stances. He was making you a little more curious. He was teaching you. He was making you laugh.

It is set in 1960 but I feel like in the year 2060, this movie will even be more relevant.

This movie raised the standard for directing, cinematography and costume in Nigeria. The lighting was perfect, the uniforms of the policemen were hilarious and I’ll definitely try some agbo therapy next time my nose runs. I was reminded how to pronounce the word ‘rendezvous’ and the morgue, classic.

As expected, this movie didn’t have a happy ending. The Nigerian justice system never rides a white horse triumphantly in the street with crowds cheering. I don’t know whether it ended sadly though. It just, ended. I think the average Nigerian wouldn’t have been too surprised. I like that the heart of the colonial white man was shown on a platter thereby debunking ‘it’s a Nigerian thing’ mentality. I’ve always been of the opinion that our society is fragile and there’s so much we don’t know. Our arguments in classes, in the markets, on Twitter are not even the tip of the iceberg of happenings. I think I’m right.

Some people say too many elements were incorporated into the movie and it tried too hard. Forgive me, I can’t really say. Maybe I have a bias, maybe I’m surprised that this standard of good came out of our Nollywood Nazareth. On the other hand, maybe this movie is like a buffet, you come, pick whatever tickles your fancy and your taste buds of course, eat, enjoy and leave. This review is grossly incomplete because I don’t want to entirely spoil the movie for you and also because, I’m still chewing my cud.

I think my conclusion is clear enough: you should watch October 1st.