Netflix premiered Genevieve Nnaji’s movie Lionheart as the first Nollywood Original flicks; in a whooping $3,8 million deal that saw Genevieve become the first Nollywood billionare.
I have had this movie cued to my watch list since its premiere on the 4th of January and seeing I had extra data to burn, courtesy of the internet shutdown on social media, I decided why not now…….
African Movies particularly from Nigeria (Nollywood) had for a long time set a predictable precedent on the nature and theme of African movies, usually along the lines of witchcraft, dark arts, infidelity and characters in stereotypical roles; the medicine man with the weird eye make-up, the cohort of powerful associates practicing disturbing rituals in communion with even stranger deities for riches and more power, the evil mother-in-law, the back stabbing uncle and the know-it-all gateman……..
To be fair though the movies weren’t all like this but a lot of them followed this formula, when you find a winning formula you normally stick to it. After you watched a couple of them you would be sufficiently creeped out that if you were invited to Nigeria you would be kinda afraid of winding up either as a sacrifice for a ritualistic killing or converted into worshiping some Mami Wata or under water dwelling spirit.
Lionheart is a delightful afternoon breeze on a hot afternoon’s day, it’s a breakthrough movie exploring the subtler themes; family and tradition, patriarchy and gender empowerment and even ethnic relations mixed together in an easy moving plot, set in the corporate world and a conversational script with non-over-the-top comedy yet quite funny. That’s how I will summarise it without giving away spoilers in case you are considering watching it…..
“Lionheart” is an inspiring drama about family values, succession, and most importantly, female empowerment. It highlights the various challenges faced by women, particularly in male-dominated industries.Genevieve Nnaji
Nkem Oweh (of the Osoufia role fame) is in it this time plays quite a surprisingly grounded character Godswill but none the less still ends up being one of the memorables.
Pete Edochie is cast in his usual boss role, owning it and dropping gems.
I’ve come to realise that most men invest all their time in matters of transient value, at the expense of what they should cherish, what they should value like love, life, family.Lionheart
The biggest legacy… I would leave for posterity… is youLionheart
You are the pendulum of my life. If you stop swinging, then I am donelionheart
Geneviève Nnaji, what can I say without sounding like I am totally fan boying, because I have been a fan since forever. During an interview with WomenandHollywood.com she had this to say on why she choose to be a filmmaker:
I’ve always had a hunger for visual storytelling. There is so much material out there that is still untold — countless real-life stories from within and outside Africa, and today, we have the chance to tell it ourselves. My hope is that Africans will have adequate representation globally, and be given a seat at the table in big studio productions as we continue to grow and improve from within the continent.
I also believe that my generation of women need to continue to work at paving a path better than the one that exists today for the future generation of women in film
I loved the movie however there’s this thing about being writer, director, executive producer and star of your own production, the whole movie becomes about the main character and the other characters wind up sidelined……
There were subplots that felt undeveloped or rushed through, if not sacrificed for the movie to stay in the 1hour 30 minutes viewing time, then in favour of the main story and plot which is what stops it from getting a perfect rating from me, unless its got a sequel.
Oh there’s a cameo appearance from one half of the Peter and Paul duo PSquare; Peter Okoye and the scene opens with him playing a piano intro of their track Omoge Mi one of my faves
Watch it, I have watched it three times, found it to be a much needed diversion from the current events, if you have watched or would watch it lemme know, and also do share if you are a fan of Nollywood movies.
PS Turns out I was wrong they saved the gatemen for the cutscene after the credits just before it fades to black