So, for now, I’ll say Kenneth Gyang and gang are on the way to mastery.
For Gyang, this might not be a career-making film—he made Confusion Na Wa, after all—but it is the film most guaranteed to bring him a deservedly wider audience. For EbonyLife, Oloture is the film most likely to give it the artistic prestige it seeks. Together, Gyang and EbonyLife have made a film set to be a Nollywood highlight this year.
There is a scene toward the end of Oloture, the new production from EbonyLife Studios, that made me replay a sentence in my head over and again. The sentence was this: “This is the work of a master.”
That sentiment was spurred by a combination of shot, sound and a still Sambasa Nzeribe. In its silence and stillness, the scene represents a subtlety and finesse that is all too rare in Nollywood. Of course, now that I’m back to my senses, I think it does the film’s director (and his crew) some disservice proclaiming him a master this early in his career. So, for now, I’ll say Kenneth Gyang and gang are on the way to mastery.
Like Gyang’s previous film, The Lost Café, this film is centered on a woman. Like that film, Oloture has its central character displaced. Where the former film had a geographical displacement, the girl at the center of this is subtly psychologically displaced: she isn’t where she is supposed to be. Our first hint at this comes early.
We see a group of young women hawking flesh and potential pleasures by the roadside. A remarkably unbroken shot shows them enter a club where one tries to entice a customer, but the man (played by the always dependable Gregory Ojefua) has eyes for another gyrating working girl. Upstairs with this girl, whose name forms the film’s title, he pops a pill as she heads to the restroom. Next thing, she goes through a window. By morning, she turns up at the residence she shares with other girls in the trade. She is ridiculed but can afford to pay the quarrelsome landlady, a role played with some brio by the singer Omawumi.