It has gotten to the point where creative critics like myself need to walk the talk. And so some two weeks ago when a friend forced me into watching s
It has gotten to the point where creative critics like myself need to walk the talk. And so some two weeks ago when a friend forced me into watching some Nollywood and Ghallywood movies on YouTube with her, I did very little to protest. After sitting through sequels of what reportedly were ‘newer’ movies, it became all too clear why I ‘dawged’ them long ago, except for research purposes in grad school.
Then two days ago, I finally succumbed to further pressure and subscribed to Irokotv hoping to track the progress of our dear African movie industry. After skimming through an arcade of TV shows, series and movies, I finally stopped when I could no longer escape the Movie “Dry,” by Stephanie Okereke.
Since its release in 2014, the movie has received several nominations and awards while gaining a special interest in critics and movie lovers across board. If you are yet to see this movie, there are probably a 101 reasons you should see it but trust me to round them up for you in this short review.
Now that I think of it, watching some ‘regular Nollywood’ movie before seeing ‘Dry’ really helped as it made things very clear to me. ‘Dry,’ and the likes of the ‘modern’ African cinema coming up like Juliet Asante’s “Silver Rain” come off as a huge relief from what we are used to. As much as we love the resilience of our movie producers, after several decades of some good African movie loving, we all agree that some things have to change.
In Dry, you get a break from the over simplified and highly predictable story lines revolving around the major theme of love, money and witchcraft you would most likely see in our movies. As much as I would love to say the movie is about Stephanie Okereke’s character like it appears, the movie focuses on Vesicovaginal Fistula, and the problem of child marriages, rape and FGM in some societies.
Therefore, just like we saw in “Silver Rain,” the movie was able to weave everyday characters in throwing light on a serious social-cultural issue. The story is woven around the life of a 13 year old child bride Halima, and this is done almost simultaneously to Stephanie Okereke’s Character, Zara, a medical doctor who seemed to have shared in Halima’s painful childhood experiences.
One of the first steps to creating a literary piece of this kind is to establish a moral or morals for the audience to take away and the movie ‘Dry’ does that excellently. While one stands to be blown away by the impressive talents and images the movie showcases, the most intriguing component of this movie is its educative achievements. A strong proof of this is me taking to Google immediately the credits rolled up the screen, to find out more about Vesicovaginal Fistula.
The movie does a good job in revealing some of its most pertinent causal factors. It is a condition that occurs in women due to childbirth complications, rape, gang rape, child marriages, and FGM. It is most pertinent in Asia and parts of Sub-Saharan Africa. The good news; it is very preventable and repairable. Nonetheless, The number of cases each year can be reduced drastically if certain persisting cultural practices like child marriages and FGM are outlawed.
Here, once again, is showing the need for our cultural products to make deep connections with larger socio-cultural issues to help produce meaningful entertainment.
I have already stated in previous posts how excited I get by seasoned veteran actors. In ‘Dry’, there is a good dose of that. With appearances from Olu Jacobs, Liz Benson, Stephanie Okere, and Klint D Drunk, what could ever go wrong?
Also significant were new appearances by child actors Zubaida Ibrahim Fagge as the main Character Halima and a few others who let us in on how we are leaving our young talents behind in our creative pieces.
Not Too Fast
Well well, as they say, somethings are just too good to be true. While the good certainly outweigh the ‘bad’ in ‘Dry’, I most certainly cannot overlook one serious flaw.
While the movie strongly sought out to educate viewers (both African and Western) and create awareness on the Vesicovaginal fistula condition, it did very little to educate the very few Western audiences this movie might attract.
Right from the beginning, before Zara (Stephanie Okere) left the UK to the area in Nigeria where the rest of the story takes place, the characters kept mentioning ‘Africa’ in place of specific areas on the continent.
For instance, the story takes place in a small remote village in Kano, Northern Nigeria, and yet, throughout the movie they kept generalizing “Africa” thus making the movie follow in the steps of Hollywood and their contribution to the generalization of issues within the African continent.
‘Dry’ is streaming on IrokoTv and has received several nominations and two awards to its credit since its release: Africa Movie Academy Award for Best Nigerian Film and Best Young Actor.
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