London Successor

London Successor

London Successor African Movie Review

Year Of Release: 2011
Released in 2006 as THE SUCCESSOR

Story – Anthony Monjaro, Obi Emelonye
Screenplay, Director – Obi Emelonye
Producer – Kene Mkparu

Starring:
Olu Jacobs – Igwe
Stephanie Okereke – princess Ada
Dakore Egbuson – Chinma
Anthony Monjaro – Ikem
Miquel Brown – Lolo
Robert Peters – Eze
Yasmin Maya – Chelsea
Natalie Preddie – Marcia

Themes:
Osu Caste System
Tradition
Cultural Differences
Stereotyping

NollywoodForever.Com Rating – 57%

Synopsis:

In this movie Ikem is a lawyer in London who has recently been promoted to senior partner. Not only is his career rapidly rising but he also has a great relationship with his fiancée Chelsea. In one day his life is shaken up when he receives a phone call from his father an Igwe in Nigeria demanding that he return home urgently. On arrival he finds out that his brother Prince Eze has been disowned and banished for marrying and osu which makes him next in line to the throne. Not only does his father want him to take the throne but a bride has also been organised for him. His culture demands that he follow tradition however he wants nothing more than to return to London to his fiancée and his job. He has no interest in claiming the throne but his father refuses to hear of it. What will he do?
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SPOILERS:

Olu Jacobs perfectly slots into the Igwe role. His command and presence does justice to the role. Miquel Brown played the Igwe’s wife. She was decent enough however I did not understand the significance of making her American. How can the mother have some foreign American accent talking to her son about,

“London is the white man’s land.”

It sounded off key that the son has an African accent but she was the one trying to school him on African ways. We later find out that the mum is American. In one scene she tells him,

“This is your culture. I grew up in America.”

Anybody who has watched this movie please tell me why you think the mother was made to be American? Or was it just that that was the actress that had been promised the role so they adapted it to include her?

Osu Caste System

“You are mere American and not Osu.”

Igwe says when his wife Lolo points out the fact that his own father disapproved their own marriage. He is making separation between the two states however the fact remains that it in both cases it is undue discrimination. Ikem too follows that line of thinking telling his mother,

“And what’s wrong with being an osu? They are human beings for Christ’s sake.”

Eze has been banished from the kingdom for marrying this Chinma who is osu. At first his parents were fine with him marrying her. They even encouraged him when finding out she was pregnant but this changed all of a sudden on finding out she was osu. How is this fair when she did nor determine her fate as an osu? Should one pay for the actions of the ancestors? There is a powerful message in the movie about changing unjust traditions. Why should the osu be discriminated on for something they haven’t done? It’s akin to slavery.

For those who are not familiar with the osu caste system let me give you a little background. People say the Osu are the descendants of people sacrificed to the gods, hundreds of years ago. Among the Igbo people of eastern Nigeria the Osu are outcasts, the equivalent of being an “untouchable”. Read more about the osu here – The Osu: the Story of Nigeria’s Untouchables

Tradition

It is funny that both children are not so traditional in their outlook and the father too has broken away from tradition in marrying an outsider so why the steadfastness? The father even goes as far as to pick a girl from the community to be his sons’s wife. I found it particularly unfair and shocking that he didn’t consult his son particularly as he enjoyed choosing his own wife AND one from outside the community. He tells his son,

“Now I’ll be damned if I leave the choice of future queen to you or fate damn it! I don’t want to hear any more nonsense about London fiancée. Have you forgotten who you are?”

At the end Igwe tells his first son,

“I was angry. I was blinded by tradition. You are my son and will always be”

Does upholding tradition matter at the sake of tearing your family apart? Igwe learns some really good life lessons in the end. The person who ended up saving his life was the one who’s very existence he despised. Lesson learnt: the very person you hate is the very person who you may later need or depend on.

Cultural Ties

Do cultural ties matter beyond everything else? Is this especially so if you are living in a foreign land. We see Ikenna say that he is happy in London, he loves his girlfriend. He doesn’t want to marry a stranger but then we see him slowly seem to fall for Stephanie. Is it perhaps easier to heed cultural conventions and what your parents desire for you than go for what you want.

Cultural Differences

Igwe asks Chelsea,

“Now tell me. Who are you and who are your parents?”

This part had me cracking up because she is not familiar with the culture she does not know that this is a question to determine her parents social standing in order to determine her worthiness and she jovially chirps,

“I and British and my father is Jamaican”

*oooops wrong answer*

Stereotyping

“These African guys are all the same they have wives at home and come here to fool women like you”

- Chelsea’s sister Marcia to her while Ikenna is away in Nigeria. It is funny how the sister’s tune changes when she arrives in Nigeria and sees the palace that is Ikenna’s fathers home. The story plays on popular misconceptions that Westerners may have about African people and debunks them. When Marcia arrives in Nigeria she is shocked by the big palace that awaits them. No doubt she may have previously thought that all Africans live in shacks or huts

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Memorable Scene

I found the scene at the end where two market women are talking very poignant. One says to the other talking about the Igwe,

“I don’t blame him. Culture or no culture I Chika cannot disown my own son. I’m a Christian and before god we are all the same.”

The other woman laughs,

“You say that now heh until your son brings home and osu.”

This same woman also reveals that she wishes the custom wasn’t so rigid when she was to marry as she would have been happily married not in a married that she is not happy in with 9 children.

Epilogue

At the end of part 1 there is an epilogue:

” Prince Ikem adjusted to life back in Mbano Village giving up his life in London. He accepted his responsibility as the next king with Princess Ada as his Queen. Peace returned to King Metumaribes household.”

It was very weird to have an epilogue at the end of part one and then see something different in part 2. How can you have a part 2 and an epilogue at the end of part 1. this makes absolutely NO SENSE. The beginning of part 2 starts with Ada telling Ikenna that she is going to run away with the love of her life Mike? Huh??? Did the producers just change their mind and not have enough time to erase the epilogue from copies already going out?

If the story had been left with just the epilogue it would have been to simple of an ending. What about the career that Ikenna had worked so hard to build? The career that he was proud of earning himself without his father’s name? What about Chelsea in London? What about his brother and his osu wife Chinma? Did all it take to leave his whole life behind was to see Princess Ada in a swimsuit and BAM dude was sold? Is it that simple? Was Chelsea’s sister therefore right about not trusting African guys? Do cultural ties always win? Hmmm food for thought and NONE of it would have been answered. However there was a part 2 so I will just disregard the epilogue.

Nollywood Forever Says What?

There was an ambulance in the village with blue sirens and everything. It looked a bit like a British ambulance. Say What? Really though? I never even saw any marked ambulance with sirens in Lagos let alone in the village.
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Conclusion:

I would recommend the movie as it is watchable and had an interesting storyline. On the downside it had a very amateurish feel complete with epilogue that was not meant to be there. Some scenes were too dark, the acting was average and the soundtrack didn’t fit. I did however enjoy the overall storyline involving the battle between culture and assimilation. It was also interesting learning about the osu, although I felt like the viewer could have learnt much more, which would have been especially informative for those who do not even know what an osu is and have never come across the concept. It did give one food for thought but the movie was nothing to get excited about.

Please note: The date on the cover says 2011, however we all know that Dakore Egbuson has not been on the scene since getting married, I have it on good authority that it was made around 2007 and just been recently released.

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