Director: GF. Emeka Nnakihe
Starring: Yul Edochie, Joyce Kalu, TC.Okafor, Precious Chukwueke, David Osagie.Nigeria. 4h+
There comes a time in a person’s life when they have to think about how they wish to be buried, cremated, sent off, returned to their ancestors! This is usually a somber time but one where someone’s true beliefs in the after life and their burial must be honored and treated with utmost respect.
What comes after the burial is sometimes utter turmoil for the family who are often more concerned with the family wealth, but the sparks begin to fly with this prestigious Nigerian family before their patriarch, The Loin, is in the ground and things only get hotter.
This production of this fragile drama from GF. Emeka Nnaka He is quite good, the sound is really impressive with decent mixing and there’s a lot of attention to lengthy emotive scenes, things are slightly drawn out where they don’t need to be but with so much going on with the two brothers in the film there’s some meaty drama to get into.
The father’s dying wish is that he wants to be buried in a traditional African style, he’s not interested in “that white man’s religion” but his sons start a massive war between them about who has the right to bury their father, and more expected, who should get the family wealth. The older son is already a millionaire (which to be honest isn’t that much to brag about in Nigeria when the Naira is 0.0025 USD and 0.0020 GBP at the time of publishing) While his younger brother, seems to have spent more time on hair bleach, bling, shoes, piercings and tattoos, and only has a small shop, boo hoo. Their constant bickering builds a wedge between them and their suffering mother and sister, there suicide attempts as well as some crazy antics on what they try to do with their fathers corpse in the desperation of having the last say, corpse-nappings seem to be in fashion in Nigeria!?
While the brothers war really keeps the film racing the women only bring in a ton of tears and drag things to a stop from time to time, I was hoping it was going to be a little less sexist but all the women are happy to sit back and not challenge the status of the family wealth but the daughter is having a ridiculously hard time, not only has she lost her father, and her brothers use her as a pawn to gain leverage, but her shitty gold digging boyfriend is a massive cheat, but will she have the strength to cope with such a blow?
The most interesting aspect kicks in during the last act, when the whole films undercurrent comes into play, tribal vs christian beliefs clash at last in a frightening way on the day of the funeral, possessed corpses and uncontrollable coffins are a step away from Viy (1967) but very Afrian in production.
In short this is a really accomplished but slightly more drawn out drama about one man’s funeral but with a cascade of terror and grief for his family.. Can the Lion ever rest?
R: Sorrows of Elizabeth (2016)
L: A-Z of Nigerian Cinema
A: A Brief introduction and what to expect of Nollywood Cinema.