[Recap]: Films I Liked at the Joburg Film Festival 2016
The Wedding Party
In The Wedding Party, Kemi Adetiba has produced a film which captures the joy and chaos of a big Nigerian wedding beautifully. Amid the drama of snobbish in-laws, stubborn exes, bumbling groomsmen, a tightly wound wedding planner and a selection of uninvited guests, Dunni (Adesua Etomi) and Dozie (Olubankole “Banky W” Wellington) manage to tie the knot.
The delightful cameos by Ayo “AY” Makun and comedian Emmanuel Edunjobi complete the scenes at the wedding, while Iretiola Doyle and Sola Sobowale gave sterling performances as the rival mothers-in-law.
The makeup, hair and wardrobe were the perfect complement to the characters: Nigerian fashion’s attention to details and signature bright colours and big shapes were on show, adding to the excitement of the big day. The film does a great job of showing the stress and frustration of pulling off a family wedding while keeping each of the characters in the drama real and nuanced.
The Wedding Party is on circuit now in Nigeria, and I expect we’ll be seeing it on EL TV sometime towards the end of the year.
Southside With You
The “day in the life of” feel of Richard Tanne’s Southside With You lends authenticity to the recreated private moments of Michelle and Barack Obama’s lives that we are witness to. Moments such as Michelle getting ready in the bathroom, and Barack speaking to his grandmother on the phone before getting into his car – the one with the hole in the floor – to pick Michelle up for the date, The film is based on a true story, but the fact that the writer couldn’t possibly have all the details of the famous First Couple’s first date could have made the scenes feel false. Thankfully, they don’t.
The day plays out in south side Chicago, and the two reveal themselves to each other by sharing intimate anecdotes about childhood and their families, and about their ideas of society and their individual futures. Each truth or feeling is shared matter-of-factly, and at just the right moment. The rhythm of their relationship is clear from the start.
The themes of perception (of oneself, and from society about oneself), judgement, struggle, expectation and resistance are explored in the dialogue, and one can’t help but feel like one is getting a glimpse into the minds and lives of present-day Michelle and Barack.
The film closes with both of them in their own homes, reflecting quietly about the day that has just ended, and it is obvious that they both sensed the beginning of a beautiful relationship.
The film is beautifully shot, with a great soundtrack to accompany it. Definitely a good conversation piece.