CATCHING UP ON “OLOTURE”
Oloture is a movie presumably told from an eyewitness point of view; from someone who rolls or has been in that circle, or maybe a spy, an investigative journalist like Ehi (Sharon Ooja). You suspect it at first, are surer as the movie carries on, and are completely convinced in the end. Otherwise, it hardly would be so precise.
The level of detail present in this movie make it remarkable and dumbfounding to both the novice and the street.
There is the humbling technique of impersonation at the start of the movie where Ehi fits into the character of a prostitute well with her looks and attitude. It is only this way that she can blend in and make intimate findings for her newspaper article at The Scoop. This makes one wonder if Tobore experienced all these too in her probable adventurous research. Was she a spy? Was she raped too? What did she see? What was her strategy? Did she need a counsellor after it all? So many questions – amazing!
It is creative how the movie reveals what Oloture is and who it belongs to, and it is genius how the filmmaker decides not to excitedly harvest it in the bid to showcase the concept.
At first one might get irritated with Ehi because it is not clear she is a spy yet. The movie does well in convincing the audience that Ehi is just a silly girl pretending to not understand the nitty-gritty of the game of prostitution that she has chosen. However, as the movie carries on, and in no time, her true position is revealed.
The sighting of the brothel Ehi rents to live amongst other prostitutes can be regarded more as a gift than an eye sore. We only hear about these kinds of places in Lagos; we never really get to see it; we never really understand it till now.
Ehi is very beautiful, and truly always the most beautiful of the prostitutes in whatever gathering, so earns the title “forze speciali”. These traffickers must have been in business long enough to be able to acquire a new lingua, and go ahead to use Italian words like puttana (whore), tette and culo (breasts and buttocks). Brilliant!
The general use of Pidgin English feels so real, and the places where proper English is used clearly distinguishes the classes of people in this movie. There are also instances of other languages that altogether help classify this movie as a mini Nigerian language hub.
Benin girls and Italy are said to be like 5 and 6. There isn’t a person in Edo state that doesn’t personally know someone that has gone on one of these trips. It is this bad, and stands as the focal point of reference with Linda and her sister, Beauty. But one question keeps popping, why is the virgin not being treated special at any time? Isn’t virginity great for a good bargain anymore, and even when she gets lost, why doesn’t it phase the traffickers at all?
Linda is trained and ready for this trip, and believes she’s strong enough to protect her virgin sister in the village who joins her in Lagos for their trip to Europe. Her plan fails from Day 1 of the trip, and she doesn’t even make it far along before the innocent girl is left on her own to navigate her new life.
Ehi is interested in a blockbuster story, and is lured into following the story till the end, basically carefully living the life of a prostitute, but in such circumstance, one cannot be too careful. Who would have thought that Sir Philips (Patrick Doyle) has met someone like Ehi before and knows just how to “manage” her flimsy excuses?
Ehi clearly had begun to bite more than what neither she nor her colleague, Emeka (Blossom Chukwujekwu) in the office can chew, and he knows it; she doesn’t till it is too late.
Really, though, did Emeka need to be in love with Ehi to go the extra mile for her? “I love you!” Oh, so cliché and annoying!
Chux (Ikechukwu Onunaku) is a competitor in the prostitution business. A washed-up pimp, who may never graduate to an international level as Alero (Omoni Oboli), who was once a field worker. It is true what they say about field workers; na dem dey sabi work pass office worker.
It is with Chux, however, that we learn that the traditional method has phased out. He and Alero do not see eye to eye, as sworn rivals.
He also, at some point, perceives that Ehi is not really a prostitute but a spy, yet he cannot believe himself even when he says it – good irony. When he strangles Ehi while saying this too, though, he holds her throat for a long time till she almost loses consciousness. The moment he releases her to go, she runs off immediately. Anybody who would care to try this at home will see that you cannot just run off like that after such. Sometimes, when you string along unnecessary scenes, they allow for avoidable flaws in the entire project.
It is not clear, though, why Chux is important in this movie, as the lady he peddles about adds nothing extra to the main story as well. He however is also appreciated for what could be the greatest statement ever made in this movie: anything wey big man do person, you suppose just accept am as experience….
A number of procedures revealed here make the prostitution trade/ special Europe trip extremely undesirable: taking on new identities and nationalities; the ritual fortification acts; seizure of any means of communication with the outside world; the wild degree of punishment for “crimes” committed; signing enslaving contracts; being managed by disrespectful and ill-mannered thugs; and every other thing. These alone are enough to discourage any willing anticipator, which makes this movie an important societal movie.
The production design is of great essence, and showcases the beauty of Lagos even in its ruins. The picture quality also adds a fine texture to it. This is really commendable.
A few instances in the movie seem baseless, though: Ehi’s constant unrelated visits to her home where only a brand-new language is showcased; Alero’s meeting with a certain boss who insisted on 15 girls or death looming for her. Now that Linda is dead and Beauty escaped, and the girls are reduced to 13, what are the consequences? What is the resolution of this movie? This movie has no resolution. We are left to imagine our own ending, a movie with many ending possibilities?! Too bad. Ehi doesn’t succeed in escaping, and is forcefully made to cross the Nigerian border, but we are curious to find out what becomes of her. How is her life now that she is a journalist turned forze speciali?
Should we not be seeing the written outcome of each character before we start seeing the written information about human trafficking and the percentages?
At this point, it is clear that the movie is a verbatim representation of the extensive research done for it. The filmmaker gets carried away with this great, detailed content and forgets to add logic to tighten up loose ends.
The movie, however, is lovable and most importantly, crucial for society.
CATCHING UP ON “OLOTURE”
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