While we are still not sure when the coronavirus pandemic will be over, Nollywood has been protesting towards lifting the ban on cinemas. Not that we think cinemas reopening is a great idea. But social gatherings are now allowed, churches and mosques are open, so why are cinemas still banned?
In the meantime, all we are stuck with is Netflix. How many movies from Netflix Nollywood August schedule did you see? Importantly, Abba Makama’s The Lost Okoroshi will finally be available on the streamer, his sophomore project following 2017’s Green White Green. The film had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2019, to positive reception from Hollywood Reporter and Variety. It also showed in Nigeria at last year’s Light Camera Africa, and received a befitting applause. Here are five reasons you should see the film.
1. It demystifies masquerades
The promotional materials for The Lost Okoroshi prominently features masquerades. It’s hard to miss. It’s also the subject matter. Through an unconventional style that only reinforces Makama’s mumblecore filmmaking, the world between humans and masquerades are blurred. Lagos is the site of this deconstruction and features masquerades removed from their mystique, at least for a good chunk of the film. The movie stars Seun Ajayi who has recurring dreams about them and must navigate the stigma and societal fear associated with these entities, even as he becomes one.
The Lost Okoroshi is an acid trip into the gulf of the unknown, bringing you closer to your fears and showing that you can embrace them.
2. It pays homage to old Nollywood
Maybe not deliberately, but one thing that stands out from The Lost Okoroshi is the way it’s shot, one that evokes 90’s Nollywood nostalgia. Using a 4:3 aspect ratio, the picture is collapsed into a more compact view. There’s also slow motion sprinkled for effect, and a score consisting of linear, unvarnished sounds twisted into the the film’s purple-hued dreamscape.
3. Chiwetalu Agu is a delight to watch
Chiwetalu Agu belongs to a slowly depleting rank of Nollywood veterans who aren’t riding on the coattails of past performances, but must present themselves anew in this world of modern cinema. Chiwetalu plays a wizened friend to Ajayi’s troubled character, guiding him with rare wisdom and all the zingers that we have come to associate with the actor.
4. The Lost Okoroshi has horror markers
Truth be told, masquerades are scary things, and while The Lost Okoroshi works as a lighthearted critique of our phobia for them, the film has got horror trappings – dream sequences with jump scares, an insidious score, and characters haunted by strange happenings. If you are a fan of horror, The Lost Okoroshi will warm your heart.
5. A celebration of Igbo tradition
Modern Nollywood is making way for films grounded in Igbo sensibilities, and although it’s nothing like Nollywood’s golden age of Igbo films on VHS tapes, there’s an appreciation of movies recognizing native customs and traditions. Movies like Genevieve Nnaji’s Lionheart and Ramsey Nouah’s Living in Bondage: Breaking Free have characters unabashedly speaking Igbo. In Abba Makama’s film the titular Okoroshi, whether invented or not, is situated in Igbo folklore and ancestry. There’s a decent dose of Igbo humour as well. The Lost Okoroshi arrives Netflix September 4.
When Bernard Dayo isn’t writing about pop culture, he’s watching horror movies and reading comics and trying to pretend his addiction to Netflix isn’t a serious condition.