BY TOLU FAGBURE
Wow! I’ve really got to write this because for us, when a show kicks off, it must go on! That’s the meaning of the Greek mantra we were trained to yell and keep in the theatre “Choboi!” Never mind how short it is or that I’m writing it with one eye nearly shut because I am sleepy but a guy’s gotta do what a guy’s gotta do yes? Cool, I heard that on Tinsel three days ago. Ok, finally we get to finish up our gist on Owo Blow. Wait o! You still never go watch am? You are sitting on a loooooong thing wallahi! Now where were we? We’ve looked at the story craft and the dramatic performance elements so we’re left with the filmic components abi? O ya, make we start.
Although the picture quality may not match up by current standards of High Definition video formats but one is intrigued by the colour texture and cinematic feel that oozes out from the first frame, it leaves no doubt that the picture was conceptualized to last as at the time of production, a pity that the producers couldn’t see into the future but it is clear that the warm design of the picture was used to draw the audience into the emotion of the story; this draws you into the story world and keeps you there until you find yourself. This picture trick was achieved by an obviously careful design of visual elements such as costume, make up and set. These elements matched the status of the characters and since they were everyday symbols, the audience could recognize which character was which and therefore made quick kinetic bonding possible. The production props were largely realistic; cars were not bogusly expensive neither were unnecessary additions of wealth trappings as producers are wont to do nowadays. All these kept the over-all film perspective simple and recognizable. Well…I keep saying this because that is a major problem with our movie these days, people don’t seem to recognize the characters. Take for instance the costume of young Wole Owolabi played by Femi Adebayo in rags made from discarded street banners; it’s a fact that is visible on our streets especially in a cosmopolitan city like Lagos where the film is set. It is also a clear semiotic that says clearly that the individual is from the street, nothing out of the ordinary abi but ingenious al the same. This makes it clear that thinking out a film is just as simple as life.
Well the final look and feel of the film was achieved with careful shot compositions; bringing emotions home in dynamic close shots and taking us to a place of critical thoughts in brilliant deep focus set ups. Ok now I have to explain that one! Close ups are shot that bring the character right there in a clear highlight racking the background or foreground out of focus as the case may be giving you only the element of the scene which is very important to the story; these shots are used when it is intended for the audience to see or feel something closely, these shots are also said to be shallow focused that is you cannot really see much around the image while deep focus is simply the opposite; giving you everything in a clear long or medium shot to draw you away from emotions which follows the alienation technique pioneered by Bertolt Bretch in stage theatre where he allows you to see the stage lights and allows actors to change in full view of the audience in order to break them away from emotional attachment for critical thinking. Hehehehehehehe! I laugh in Yoruba! Now you are a bit confused abi? Good for you! shebi you people think it is only dance we dance when we study Theatre Arts ni? O ya deal with that one! Na pity I pity you, I for give you more and believe me, dem plenty well well. Anyway sha, I know say my people na brilliant people and you’ve already gotten an idea of what I’m trying to tell you so that’s what is important.
The careful mix of shallow and deep focus shots masterfully draws out emotional and critical play in one go; that one also is another Tade Ogidan trick. Please don’t mind the graphics, they were the standard at the time but pay attention to the cutting of the film which is generally known as editing done in a way which runs you seamlessly through the film without any jarring end, even the jump cuts don’t give you a jumpy feeling then put the sound design on top of that and voila! You arrive at a quintessential output.
The intermix of lyrics music and sounds on the soundtrack helped bring the mood and drama closer home. Note the un-intrusive nature of the music which relied on melody for attention. Need I go on! See people, in a nutshell, this film would have gone straight to the cinema had it come at this time and I recommend it as a training or reference material for current makers of film note that I did not say filmmakers yes makers of film are different from filmmakers; filmmakers know what to do, makers of film still dey learn I beg but this Owo Blow ehn was made by filmmakers who clearly understand cine craft maybe that is why the production studio is named , and please makers of film, Wale Fanu and Tade Ogidan are still around so go learn the Owo Blow experience. I don talk my own, I dey commot abeg.
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”.