BY IFE OLUJUYIGBE
In the bustling city of Lagos, three friends from the three major ethnic groups in Nigeria are young secondary school leavers, unsure of the next steps for their lives. While they wait, they decide to make a short movie; hence, Green White Green is a movie about a making of a movie. Well, sort of.
Uzoma (Ifeanyi Dike) is an orphan with an older brother. He is also a painter who plays around with colours in his work and is looking to intern at a reputable art gallery. He is persistent, but his persistence only earns him a rejection phone call that shatters his spirit. Segun’s (Samuel Robinson) heart is in New York. His older brother lives there, and so does Segun’s preferred future, which is why he keeps his bags packed, waiting for that call that would move him to the place of his dreams. Like many young Nigerians, he couldn’t be bothered by all things Nigerian; songs, fashion, movies, attitude. He is all about America’s pop culture. Baba’s (Jamal Ibrahim) case is quite ironic. While he has the means to travel and get all that the other two crave, he doesn’t want to. Instead, he wants to remain in Nigeria and become a filmmaker. He urges his friends to join in his project to convince his father that he wasn’t meant to become an accountant in this life or in any other. In spite of Uzoma and Segun’s failings and frustrations, they decide to join him, alongside Uzoma’s girlfriend and aspiring actress, Maggy (Crystabel Goddy).
Breezy is the word that best describes this 2016 Abba T. Makama flick. It is whimsical and quirky and funny and reminds you of your Nigerian teenage self. It is full of slangs that are common among Nigerian youth and bursts with energy and the belief that you can do and be anything. This belief is familiar; it is the type the sixteen-year-old secondary school graduate has while he fills his JAMB form or right in the hall of his graduation ceremony. He thinks he would become the first Nigerian to walk on the sun, and there isn’t a thing you can say to dissuade him.
When their dreams begin to face oppositions, Uzoma, Segun and Baba are broken and take their disappointments out on one another. They however show that perseverance can work miracles. Side attractions involving a gang and ‘yab’ battle, Uzo’s brother (Okey Uzoeshi), a laughable movie producer called Don.E. and Bimbo Manuel as Uzo’s professor mentor add a spice to the movie that makes it richer.
Green White Green doesn’t thrive on its technical fronts. Some scenes are abrupt, the sound falters and some scenes seem wrongly placed. It comes across amateurish in a number of shots, but the eccentricity of its screenplay and interpretation make these shortcomings seem more like a style than a weakness. And while it is tempting to be carried away by the overly hilarious scenes, you can’t but get the message the movie touches on: Nigerian history, corruption, diversity and the need to be united.
For a debut feature, Makama makes an impressive statement. He is saying many things at once by this film, but we hear them clearly, the seeming low budget notwithstanding. Green White Green is clumsy, yet endearing; mischievous but highly entertaining, and different in a good way from the over-told stories we have seen on screens over the years. Hopefully, it only gets better from here on out.