BY TOLU FAGBURE
Ok people so I’ve put rice on the gas to boil so I guess I’ll quickly give you some old movie gist abi? I nearly didn’t do this actually as I had lost an earlier draft of this review but now I have been encouraged to do it again so here we go peeps! I recently stumbled on that Yoruba movie that took over the screen in the 90s Owo Blow. Yeah you got it! The same Owo Blow. It was a fantastic collaboration between Wale Fanu who is a professional contemporary with the enigmatic Tunde Kelani and a younger folk Tade Ogidan, where is that bros by the way?
I’m sure you remember that Owo Blow was in three parts; The Genesis, The Revolt and The Final Struggle. It is noteworthy to say that this is not an example of a stretched story; the fact that each of the parts had strong content treating different parts of the storyline is proof that the story was well thought out from the beginning.
You see, Owo Blow treated how the socio-political factors in our nation change the course of families and as a result, its people since the family is the source of a nation’s people. It discusses how the lives of people are drastically affected due to the kind of choices they make in the Nigerian polity. Take for example, a middle-aged man returns from the UK to settle in Nigeria with his family and joins the police force because he thinks that is the only way he can be part of the corruption fighting machinery only to discover that the indiscipline in the force is a stiffler for his mission. He is determined to work against the system and gets imprisoned in the process (of course, he eventually dies in prison); now this is what changes the course of his family for his daughter who becomes a pregnant because she gies her body to a wealth man who gives her gifts with which she contributes to family care but she eventually dies in the an abortion process and his academically bright son who becomes a street urchin and graduates to become an armed robber albeit a compassionate one. Wole Owolabi who becomes Owo Blow the title character acquires wealth from his crime escapades, turns into a philanthropist and breaks away from his gang who insist that he must do a last job with them which he does because of an existing oath.
Good so far right? Now trouble starts when the gang is apprehended and one of them mentions Wole Owolabi as a member, Owolabi manages to win everyone to his side for a convincing legal case and he was almost winning until one loose end witness Jeje resurfaces and gives damaging testimony to the police unknowingly. Owolabi decides that death is better than living with the shame.
Wow! Sad huh? Sorry I had to tell you the story again for the benefit of those who didn’t see the movie. Now breaking the story into a serial was the most ingenious thing that the producers did because all the issues raised could never have been resolved in one part but most importantly, the masterful art of storytelling was evident in the Owo Blow movie because each part was crafted to suit the basic storytelling components which are a beginning, a middle and an end without the didactic preaching-like end where everyone gathers for a sermon. Also, the serial break is not like what you have now where producers shoot a one or two-hour movie and just cut it into parts somewhere in the middle leaving us with a distracted movie plus the exasperating advertisements in them too need I say!
Owo Blow was planned and crafted to reveal the story slowly with each part carefully giving us a foundation to the issues, leading us slowly into the conflict and climaxing into a tragic resolution; the suicide of a resigned armed robber with a good heart who wouldn’t have become a robber at all if his family had not been dis-stabilized. Owolabi’s death gently reminds us without the encumbrance of didactic preaching that there is a punishment for every transgression while we grieved for the death of a good man who was just a victim of circumstances.
Well, I think this ‘victim of circumstances’ theme had been recurrent in Tade Ogidan’s stories over time especially in movies like Madam Dearest and Playing Games. But above all the story of Owo Blow is a classic example that folks in the Yoruba movie production sphere should borrow a leaf from. Get the movie and you will believe me, I mean it.
I’m not done yet! There’s still the acting and the entire movie filmic components to talk about but I’ve got to go now, my rice is burning; more gist about Owo Blow later but get the movie and see the three parts before I come back ok?
Tolu Fagbure is an entertainment entrepreneur and consultant with extensive cognate experience in writing, directing, and producing. Directed the Afrinolly Cinema4Change Short film “My Brother’s Keeper”.