by Wilfred Okiche
Compiling the ten best films of the year is not as easy as this list reads. It’s just ten films right, how hard could it be? It can be hard work depending on what kind of movie year it was. The year might have been rife with great movies that it makes it almost impossible picking out ten to call the very best. Or the year might have been choked up with terrible movies that you’d have to examine through a microscope to pick out the good ones.
While this year had quite a number of films playing to packed cinema houses (always a good sign for the industry),we soon realised that a film scoring a great cinema opening does not particularly guarantee great viewing.
We pick out five of the year’s best films and another five worthy of note. Hoping the New Year will be better.
Scored big at the Africa Movie Academy Awards where it emerged the best Nigerian film. Aramotu is part history, part fiction and part myth – it tells the story of a young woman who has to pay the ultimate price for being far ahead of her time. Newcomer, Idiat Shobande in the titular lead proves that with the right direction, even green horns can take on complicated roles and shine.
Obi Emelonye’s Pan-African adventure about love, redemption, and self-discovery features a cast headed by Africa’s sweetheart, Genevieve Nnaji and was set in Gambia. An unusual and unpredictable story, Mirror Boy goes to areas uncharted by Nollywood films and the producer’s effort deserves acknowledgement.
3) Two Brides and a Baby
Teco Benson directs Stella Damasus, O.C Ukeje and Kiera Howatch in this story of love, revenge and forgiveness. While the movie is quite short on laughs, it is a shinning example of how much can be gotten out of little when proper attention to technical detail is paid.
2) The Return of Jenifa
We may have given this film an apathetic review upon release earlier in the year but it has emerged the feel good movie of the year, thanks to Funke Akindele’s winning performance as the foolish but lovable heroine, Jenifa. The laughs come fast and hard and it will take the most stoic of viewers to resist the pitch perfect comic timing of Akindele. If there was a funnier movie released this year, we must have missed it.
1) Tango with me
The happiest day for a young couple is turned into a nightmare when they are attacked by armed robbers and the virginal bride is raped. Where do we start from? The acting? Genevieve Nnaji sizzles through every scene and Joseph Benjamin keeps up with her at every turn. Tina Mba plays a formidable boss and Bimbo Manuel’s role as marriage counselor is faultless. The screenplay is divine and the lights, sound, picture were just as good as it gets. Add in Mahmood Ali Balogun’s thoughtful directing to the mix and the end result is, put simply, the best film of the year. Mature and thought-provoking, if you missed it, you are on a long thing.
They could have been contenders…
Kiss & Tell– From Emem Isong’s Royal Arts Academy comes a romantic comedy that was quite funny but not very well made. More attention to detail and it would have landed atop our lists. But for now, we’ll just let it simmer here.
Mr and Mrs– The fabulous Nse-Ikpe Etim and the ultra smooth Joseph Benjamin lock horns in this little- seen but delightful romp. It could have been so much more though.
Ghetto Dreamz– The end result might have been a disappointing mess but at least their hearts were in the right places so we’ll give them an ‘A’ for effort. For every disastrous casting decision like Doris Simeon, the producers made up with a Rachel Oniga or Gabriel Afolayan.
Memories of my heart– Stars Ini Edo, Ramsey Nouah, Nse- Ikpe Etim and Monalisa Chinda. If you’re not sold yet, then you probably never will be.
Sinking Sands– Technically, this is a Ghanian film but our Yemi Blaq co-stars so we’ll just claim it. A psychological drama that stars Jimmy jean Louis and current AMAA best actress winner, Ama k. Abebrese. Powerful!