Wednesday 18 November 2015

Oko Ashewo

This blogging thing is hard. It’s so much easier to tweet. How hard can 160 characters be? But blogging, you have to think and think and think and think except of course, you’re stealing other people’s works. This is not a shade o. 
Since there are so many Nollywood movies these days, I’ll talk about some every now and then. Mostly the ones I like.
So I watched Taxi driver aka Oko Ashewo. By the way, do you people know that at some point Nigeria banned churches from registering two names?  Living Bright Church aka God Will Do Great Things Ministries, Do Not Walk Alone Salvation Army aka Devil Is A Liar ministries. The pastor who told me this said the Government had to intervene before they run out of names. Imagine wanting to start a church and all the names have been taken? You’ll now have to register Bring Your Offerings Here Church or something like that.  But I digress.
Yes, Oko Ashewo.  My initial reaction was what am I doing here? This is a Yoruba film and it was subtitled in pidgin. Pidgin! Who subtitles in Pidgin? Who even reads pidgin? But I got over my initial shock or anger or whatever it was I was I was feeling and settled down to enjoy the film. I read the pidgin subtitles and picked up whatever Yoruba words I could.  I’ve told you people before that I love Yoruba people.
I don’t know if I can tell you exactly why I liked Taxi driver but I did. Perhaps, I was jazzed, you know you Yoruba people like jazz, at least that’s what your films make us believe ( I’m kidding o, don’t be so sensitive, elections are over), I’m not sure what the story of the film really was but it had enough moments and left a good taste in my mouth.
I particularly liked the feel of the film, the cinematography was beautiful but I wished that the film had given us more because it could easily have.  For a film about Lagos night life, we didn’t really see a lot of this life. The streets were practically empty all the time apart from some secret things going on that even the audience weren’t privy to. It also had a rather slow beginning.
The actors did a good job even though I felt Ijeoma Agu was underutilised. She’s capable of so much more than was given to her. And dear Femi Jacobs, you know I’m a fan but your next film choice is very important. If you continue to play these type characters then you’re going to be type cast. Except you’re going to own the type cast and just be the new Tony Umez( who remembers Tony Umez washing I think Liz Benson’s underwear?) if you don’t want that, be careful what role you play next.
Driving home after the film, I started to like the idea of subtitling in pidgin, it was arrogant and I find arrogance sexy, you know like this is how I want to do it, take it or leave it. 
A year or two ago, Nollywood  set up an Oscar qualifying body or something like that. Unlike Nigeria that sets up an award, then proceeds to give more than half the awards to other African countries, Oyibo is not like that.  All you people from all other countries, you’ll be competing under the foreign language film category and your film must be predominantly non-English.  I feel  Taxi Driver could have stood a chance to represent Nigeria  if it’d put in a bit more effort and if its script had gone through a few more drafts what with its dusty feel and predominant use of Yoruba and Pidgin language but alas.
I’d recommend Taxi Driver and commend Daniel Oriahi. He’s definitely a director to watch out for.