The Film Blog: Comparisons between The Wedding Party and Isoken are misguided – and unnecessary

We know the coming of Isoken has given all the guys who low-key hated The Wedding Party (TWP) frenzy, an excuse to finally speak out. We understand. It must have been painful to have been quiet all that time. The tide was too strong. TWP was classic hysteria.

Like we always say, much of film criticism, beneath all the intellectualism and talk of ‘pastiche’ and ‘cornucopia’ comes down to ‘I like’ or ‘I don’t like’ and so it’s always proper to have people who don’t enjoy what everyone else does.

But you can say that without setting up a false comparison. Isoken and TWP are both excellent films, for two very different reasons.

Isoken is a deliberate (if at some point, confusing) story with a very specific, dare we say feminist theme – that a woman has the right to be whoever she wants to be, on her own terms. It effectively camouflages as a romantic comedy, but is actually a serious film, dealing serious subjects, in a patriarchal society. It works because of this dominant theme.

TWP was a good film: a celebration of Nigerian partygoing, colour and vibe. And it was very conscious of what it was. TWP was both a movie about a party and a party in itself. It was a communal gathering of Nigerians experiencing in the cinema a slice of life we are intimately familiar with. Accusing it of a lack of a story is deliberately ignoring what it was and what it clearly said it was.

If a film says: I don’t want to have a story, I want to throw a party and you criticise it for not having a story, you’re being pedantic.

Both films are giant strides for Nollywood because they both push the envelope and help the industry attract Nigerians to trust Nigerian movies at the cinemas with their wallets and ATMs. They are excellent movies that achieve completely different things. Let’s stop this unnecessary drama.

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