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Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Video: Nollywood's first gay movie

Update: An expert on Nollywood has commented that this isn't the first Nigerian film with homosexual content. Nollywood Forever names 2005's My Brother's Keeper. There's also Hideous Affair from earlier this year. They comment that "sadly homosexuality is portrayed in a very unrealistic way" in all these films.

Source: Nollywood Forever

Nollywood Nigerian Movie Review
Story/ Screenplay – Juliet Chisom Okereke
Director – Moses Ebere
Producer – Kingsley Okereke

Men In Love ~ 2010

Actors and Actresses Starring:
Tonto Dikeh – Whitney
John Dumelo – Charles
Muna Obiekwe – Alex
Halima Abubakar – Flora
Becky Ogbuefi – Pastor
Promise Amadi – Bobby
Ndu Ugochukwu – Cain
Queen Okoro – Tasha

Themes Explored:
Homosexuality
Cheating
Rape
Charms (Juju)
My Rating – 60%

Whitney, played by Tonto Dikeh is married to businessman Charles, played by John Dumelo and they have one son. Throughout the course of their marriage she has had to put up with his cheating ways. It is only when long lost friend Alex, played by Muna Obiekwe comes into his life that his philandering ways appear to end. Whitney believing that Alex is a calming influence on her husband allows him to move into their home. Little does she know that Alex is taking advantage of her husband in the worse way.

TRAILER



************SPOILERS***********

Infidelity

Whitney catches her husband cheating with his secretary and although she cusses at him a little it is the secretary that she viciously attacks with a broken wine bottle. Why do a lot of women do this? Who was it that made a vow to love, obey and be loyal to you? Was it him on her? I wonder oooo!
Whitney’s friend Flora played by Halima Abubakar tells her,
“It is in a man’s nature to cheat.”
Whitney on the other hand does not believe that to be the case and responds,
“There are men in Nigeria who would give up their right arm not to cheat on their wives.”
So which is it? If it is in a man’s nature does that mean that cheating is inevitable especially where there is opportunity?

Homosexuality

Alex tries to gauge Charles opinion on homosexuality by telling him about his chef friend being a homosexual,
“You see even if he wanted to get married in this country you wouldn’t be able to – you see he is gay.”
I was surprised when Alex asked Charles if he had a problem with homosexuality that he replied,
“No, not at all.”
I imagined the typical response from a Naija man would be to react in disgust, however, in saying that times are changing and people are more exposed. Life experience also plays a factor in a situation like this. He may have also acted so positively so as not to cause offence, seeing as he was eating the gay chef’s food.

We find out more about Charles’ feelings in homosexuality when he says to Alex,
“I just don’t understand why anyone would want to be gay. I mean what is the point what is there to gain?”
Do straight people base their sexuality on what there is to gain from it? Charles uses the word want. That is another debate. Do gay people want or choose to be gay? Alex listing the positives on being gay to me was ridiculous. Who sits down and thinks, ok I don’t want to get a chick pregnant, I want to be able to cheat on my wife easier, so AHA! YES! I’ll sleep with a man. How would a straight man decide to sleep with a man for such flimsy reasons? BE REAL. Men sleep with men because they are attracted to them. POINT BLANK.

There was a scene close to the end of the movie where Alex and charles are openly kissing in a restaurant. How likely would this be in Nigeria? They were not the only people in the place and it was not a “gay restaurant.” Even more ridiculous was the camp gay men rolling up to Alex and Charles’ table and causing a big scene, cussing, clapping and whooping,
“boyfriend snatcher!”
The scene was kinda funny but no way can I imagine such a scene taking place in a public place in Nigeria where straight people are onlookers.

Hypocrisy

Charles uses the bible to justify the wrongness of homosexuality. He tells Alex,
“The bible frowns upon the act.”

What a hypocrite! Did your bible tell you to stick your penis into the hole of every woman with a pulse that comes your way? He knows how to quote the bible, but does not quote it in relation to his own ungodly acts. I was glad that Alex made him aware of his own acts of sin,
“Infidelity is also a sin.”

Rape

Alex drugs and rapes Charles, as if the act of raping someone has the ability to change something as innate as sexuality. I swear the way some people think is absurd. What is the joy is having sex with someone that you supposedly like so much if it is not reciprocal. How is having sex with someone while they are out cold going to make them fall in love with you. Well according to this movie IT WORKS. Alex tells Charles,
“I’m sorry I did what I did Ok – we are meant to be together.” BLOODY FOOL.

I am not surprised that Charles did not tell anyone about the rape as the shame of male rape even greater than that of female. I doubt many men would tell for fear of being labelled gay which is a huge taboo in African societies.

Charms (Juju)

Where the whole movie fell apart for me after the rape. Cherles is angry for a very short while and then decides that he wants to be with Alex, even going to his house to apologise. Now tell me how do YOU get raped and then go and apologise? Even if you did decide you like men after the fact, why would you apologise? If anything you would be angry at being turned out.

BULLSHIT. Who gets raped ESPECIALLY by a friend and then says thank you for being hurt? A friend raping you is a HUGE betrayal of trust, one that is unforgiveable to most people. That whole part of the storyline was ridiculous and didn’t ring true for me. From being angry at being raped and tormented about it a few days later you are sitting in your matrimonial home snogging the face off your rapist whom you have now moved in with you? WHATEVER.

At the end of the movie homosexuality is put down to Alex doing Juju on Charles. How bloody typical! Whitney consults a pastor who puts down him sleeping with a man as him being under some “strong satanic bond.” Oh that makes it all alright then! Let me go and rob a bank and tell the police I was under a strong satanic bond. Nonsense. Charms and Juju is always used in these movies to make excuses for people’s behaviour. Men are gay because they like and are attracted to other men, and whomever cannot grasp that concept should build a bridge and get over it.
Tonto tells Charles at the end of the movie,
I knew you could not do that to me.”
Er yes love he did. He made the choice to have an affair with a man. This is how women will continually be stupid blaming things on JUJU. Open your eyes. The blame for continually sleeping with a man lies with Charles and Whitey allowing it to be blamed on Satan takes away the responsibility he has to be faithful and respect his wife. The guy was even useless before he started sleeping with a man. Was it Satan too when he was sleeping with every woman in town?

There was no mention of juju making him unable to curb his sexual appetite with women? Or perhaps that is expected. The pastor of course encourages Whitney to fight for useless sex maniac husband, after all marriage is sacred abi? Whitney’s prayers set her husband free from the bondage of homosexuality.. If only life were so easy. Also helping him return to his wife was the fact that his lover was thrown in jail. I wonder if his lover had not have been jailed if the “satanic bond” might have returned.

Performances by the Cast

Muna Obiekwe looks better and much much cuter since he got rid of that mop he was sporting on top of his head in the last movie that I saw him in HOPELESS TOMORROW. He was very convincing as a gay man. He wasn’t overly camp but just camp enough to make you SAY WHAT? He had enough intensity in his eyes when directing his affection towards John Dumelo to make us believe his desire for him.

Tonto Dikeh gives a very dramatic and passionate performance as Whitney, the wife scorned. In one of the first scenes we see her confront her husband in a hotel room with his secretary. You literally see the veins popping from the side of Tonto’s neck. One problem that Tonto seems to have is that she trips over her words when she is doing a dramatic scene where she is shouting or speaking animatedly. It seems like she just has to slow it down a little and think about what she is saying so that we in turn can understand what she is saying.

I thought that the casting was great for Alex’s friends. They were all at ease with each other and looked and acted exactly as you would imagine a bunch of gay men in a room to. There is a hilarious scene where Charles arrives at Alex’s party and the priceless look on Charles’s face when he realises (after about 5 minutes or so) that the people at the party are all men and obviously GAY.

Nollywood Forever Say’s What?

Imagine your husband rolling up to YOUR party wearing matching suits with his gay lover? Liberties! That is the height of disrespect. Her friends should have blatantly told her when they found out about his homosexual frolicking in public. At the same time perhaps they didn’t tell her because they knew she would not accept it til she saw it with her own eyes.

I was glad that they didn’t try and cover up Tonto’s tattoo in this movie because all that covering up that they have being trying to do just makes her look as if she has a dirty neck. If they cannot do a proper cover up job. I beg they just leave it alone.

Why was Whitney friend calling Charles “darling” I didn’t think that was appropriate? How a chick up in your house and calling your husband “darling” Naaaa it just doesn’t seem right.

Whitney and her friend’s were sitting around the table eating Alex’s eba and egusi with acrylic nails. All I could think was ewwwww. It puts a plasticky taste in your mouth and all the food with get stuck in the acrylic join in your nails… GROSS!

The Title

I think they should not have called the movie Men in Love. After all charles was simply under a spell and not in love. It should have been called MAN UNDER SATANIC BONDAGE.
 
Conclusion:
I liked the film and would recommend it. The cast were great and It approached a taboo subject. However to me it would have made more sense if the story revolved around sex addiction and Charles’ insatiable appetite for sex in whatever form it came in rather than him being raped and then turning gay. The part where it fell down for me was bringing the whole juju thing into it. It felt like a bit of a cop out. They decided to make a movie on this taboo subject but then couldn’t go the full way with it. Nevertheless it’s worth watching.

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting this is the first time that I have come across this site. There have been other gay movies in Nollywood. I would say the first was My Brother's Keeper back in 2005 or so. After that there has been Hideous Affair. Sadly homosexuality is portrayed in a very unrealistic way.

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