Dkelly, complete word and sentences no go kill u oh, even riting in pidgin inglis better pass this shot hand. Lol. no kill me, i dey bored this morning for work. i sitdon for my office dey count the minutes until 4:00pm.
So everyone has been talking about Ije: The Journey. With at least seven awards under its belt, I was convinced I would enjoy, and I sure did… both times!
Ije: The Journey is a story of two sisters, Anya (Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde) and Chioma (Genevieve Nnaji). Growing up in Oku Village on the hilly countryside, they learn to fight and watch each other’s back. Anya loves to sing and years down the line, she leaves Nigeria in pursuit of fame, glory, and riches in Los Angeles, refusing to heed warnings from her father and her younger sister. But then, life deals her an ugly blow. She is held in custody for allegedly killing her producer husband, Michael Michino, and two other men. It is Chioma who receives the call and comes in to save her only sister. “Don’t let Papa know about my troubles… he was right…,” she tells Chioma who turns to Jalen Turner (Ulriche Que) a young unproven attorney who has just lost a high profile murder case.
Ije brings to the fore some important themes in today’s world, including love, racism, culture, stigma and life as an immigrant in a foreign country. Chioma is irked and embarrassed as the immigration officer at the point of entry into the US asks her “Madam can I see your passport … bag please.” Later on she admits, “They say America is the gateway to heaven; how many see the other side?” She also displays some occasional bouts of stupidity when she visits Anya in the prison. There she is so excited and begins to speak to Anya across the glass partitioning, oblivious of the telephone device she needs to communicate… But Nigerians are a tough breed, we are smart and can survive anywhere in the world. After wrestling her bag during a mugging attempt on her, she educates the Asian inn keeper “You think these streets are tough, come to Lagos, wa riran!”
This movie also highlights the culture of shame and silence and the stigma attached to rape and rape victims. Indeed a clash of two cultures, social attitudes towards rape and rape victims in the Nigerian society threaten to banish Anya to the American prison for the rest of her life. Chioma acknowledges, “Once a woman is raped, nobody wants to touch her again…”She admonishes Anya: “Stand and face your fears tomorrow, just like you did for me the other day…”
Ije showcases brilliant cinematography. The perfectly timed sound effects arouse one’s sensitivity with no excesses. The acting is exquisite and the cast did an excellent job of interpreting their script. The two girls who acted young Anya and Chioma, and the international cast including Hispanic sensation, Odalys Garcia, Ulrich Que, Jeff Swarthout, Odalys Garcia, Kenny Joh, Diana Yekinni, Russia Hardy and Anahit Setian Que, put on a convincing show.
The costume design, though not overly elaborate, was just adequate in celebrating and representing Nigeria’s rich culture. The Nigerian cast don colorful and beautifully made Ankara gowns and skirts. Jalen Turner, seeing Chioma in a patterned blue, red and yellow gown alongside the matching circle of red beads says: “So this is what Nigeria wears to dinner… I have to visit your country.”
Ije is also not bereft of punchlines and occasional philosophical sayings that are hard-to-find in most Nollywood movies. When Rachel, a little girl from the Michino neighbourhood asks Chioma, “Why is your hat so big?” she appeals to the curious, innocent mind: “Because I keep all my ideas underneath it.” When the girl later sees her without her turban-esque Ankara scarf, she quizzes again, “Where is your hat?” “I guess I’m running out of ideas… Maybe you can help me out,” she replies. In another instance, when Turner comes back to find his otherwise rough and disorganised apartment neatly arranged, Chioma tells the surprised lawyer, “Everything is still in place… The difference is that you can actually see it now…” She claims her banking job makes keeping track of information her business. “I have to do something, I have to help somehow.” Perhaps, this underscores how a (Nigerian) woman often brings order into a man’s life. Even when Turner says, “there was nothing that could have been done until this morning,” she quips, “I could have worried.”
So, are there any flaws in the movie? I actually went all out to enjoy the movie so I could hardly spot any. But I remember a friend with whom I watched it the first time pointed out at the scene where Chioma and her lawyer go for dinner that the lady performing live music was lip-synching. The sound and the movement of her lips were some milliseconds apart. I liked the way the movie ended though, and I was convinced it indeed was a good movie when the full-capacity audience rose in applause twice at the Ozone Cinemas in Yaba, Lagos where I watched it!
In homage to the movie’s insight and wit, I leave you with my favourite quote by Anya Michino (Omotola):
“This man says I would have gone back home and lived like a queen… In Nigeria, there are no queens, only kings… A woman is given to him by her family and herself… He becomes her protector… Husbands are not fathers; mine was not even a man.”
There were a couple of reasons why I went to the movies last week Saturday – I was bored, I wanted some popcorn, I craved for some dark-corner privacy that could help me forget whatever work schedules I had to face the coming week, and yes, I had the most charming man around asking me out for a date!
So truthfully, I stumbled on Ije. I had seen the preview once or twice (just like I had seen Through the Glass and didn’t bother. But just like Guilty Pleasures, there was a pull…I mean, here is Omotola Jalade-Ekehinde and Geneveive Nnaji, how wouldn’t there be a pull? I wasn’t going to give that up to watch Toy shop, was I?)
Ije breaks into our fears, our dreams, our hopes and manages to make music of our nightmares – a heart-rending hum. A traumatized Anya (Omotola Ekehinde), a concerned sister – Chioma (Genevieve Nnaji), and a decent lawyer, Jalen make the recipe for this movie. Ije is the story of a sister’s love, but most importantly it reveals the repressed voice of many women across Africa.
Anya is awaiting trial for triple murder – three men, including her husband, a record-producer, are lying still and cold in her matrimonial mansion. Someone pulled the trigger; but Anya swears she only killed the other two men. Her husband was already dead after a shot from one of the men which stirred her to act. Of course, no one believes her; not when you are a black woman from Nigeria seeking the golden fleece of America in the bosom of a white pot-bellied music producer. There’s always the clinch – it’s the money, and nothing else.
But Chioma believes her sister must be saying the truth. So she leaves home country Nigeria, to America to find a way of helping her sister out of the claws of the law that is ready to tear her apart.
Chioma arrives the US, after the typical ‘harassment’ witnessed at the airport; something many travellers from third world countries can attest to; she manages to settle in a hotel which comes at a more expensive rate than was stated on the website. The hustle happens to be everywhere, apparently!
She meets with her sister the next day, and the story unfurls with the cold-blooded Patricia Barone (Anna Carey) who is all for plea-bargain. She is the story of many high-flying lawyers in America who become apathetic to the system that ironically demands not only their expertise but ethics. The movie builds up to the trial, the prosecuting lawyer in his expensive suits try to make Jalen feel like butter as he reminds his colleague (Jalen) just how unsuccessful his career has been lately after losing a high profile criminal case.
Chioma pays a couple of visits to Anya’s residence, and pops in to see the neighbours after sighting their (neighbour) daughter in her sister’s premises. There are obvious clues and secrets that are begging for answers – the pendant Chioma finds on the floor, and as the story develops we are aware there’s something Anya isn’t saying…
Ije brings a smile, many giggles, roaring laughter, many nods, and a tear to my eyes. Omotola shines through in this movie. She is angry, ashamed, bitter, and afraid, and you see it…you feel it.
Genevieve Nnaji has over the past ten years consciously built a name for herself. First it seemed like self-destruct, ignoring and refusing to partake in the chaos encircling Nollywood after being ‘made’ by the same industry, but the young lady had a purpose after all, and it’s clear for all to see now. Genevieve has become not only a sterling actor, but a brand, staying atop her game as one of the very best export of a nation. She was the soul of the movie. Along with Omotola, their emotions were genuine, and their delivery was impressive.
Although there was a large dose of predictability, it was well embroidered in between good acting. Of course, we knew Jalen and Chioma would have a ‘thing’ the minute we saw them in that elevator, didn’t we? We knew the little-white-girl would uncover a major help in the ‘investigation’. We knew ultimately that Anya would be vindicated – one way or another. But what we were not too sure of was what really happened that night in Anya’s matrimonial mansion.
The hopelessness of the female gender stares at us blankly everyday; Ije expounds on it successfully but not thoroughly. However the case maybe, it was a beautiful movie. I like the genuine plot and setting. It was crisp, and humour (a good ingredient for cinema) was not lacking.
Flashbacks of Anya and Chioma’s days in the village were extremely amazing and hilarious. The young girls cracked me up the most!
I think I wiped a tear when young Anya, who was on the hills plaiting her sister’s hair and singing an Ibo chorus which required Chioma to respond ‘obodo’, stopped to share her dream of the life she wished to have. It was her passion that amazed me. She was young, living in the village. It took a lot for a child to see beyond her present circumstance; it was clear valour, in my opinion.
Although I got hot dog instead of my earlier desire for popcorn, I left the theatre quite fulfilled.
As it stands, Chineze Anyaene has set the pace for a new beginning in Nigerian movies.
My sister i no fit chop from pot wey don tey on fire so dey na black smoke dey comot...i tell it like it is...even with the flash backs Omotola had scenes but trust na fight... tok sey e even if dey d credits me wey don go skool but no be skool of nollywood... it doesnt even matter who is lead or not...its a good movie regardless...
See the image that agrees my special note make i laugh
Dude, its obvious u cnt tell a lead from a supporting role. So quit making multiple post on it cos u r embarrassing ur self. U didn't even need to watch the movie to tell. The trailer gives tht hint away. Just becos the story is centered around omotola's xracter doesn't make her the lead actor. Lol
MW. Almost all of DD's review was praising both actors. What does it matter if she thought one was lead or not? Have you not seen where the supporting actor is the one that everyoen wants to see or loves. That's why there are supporting role awards. And this was her perception.
But who cares!? Genny and Omoto apparently rocked this movie. That's what is important.
I can't believe pple r ?tioning the importance of a lead actor. R u kidding me? Theres a reason u have an award for a lead actor separate from tht of a supporter. Duh! If not, dey cudda easily just be one awaed for all of dem if it doesn't matter. Go and check the paycheck too. Tht has absolutely nothing to do with who the audience loved or loves to watch. The fact is, the lead role is the most important role dt comes with a huge responsibility. U r practically carrying the movie on ya head! If it flops, the only two pple we kno to blame is the lead actor and the director. Ask JLO, she can tell u better.