The biggest obstacle for many people who watched Elesin Oba was that it felt like a stage play. If you know the Nigerian audience, you’d know this isn’t a medium many people are familiar with, hence many struggled to properly give a name to their confusion.
I thought the movie was too faithful to its source material (suprise: a stage play) to its detriment. It’s hard to see the movie as its own thing. Perhaps that was always the arrangement between the author Prof. Wolf Soyinka and EbonyLife Studio from the get-go; perhaps they always knew the average Nigerian wouldn’t f%ck with this kind of “art” and sort to only impress the “educated” ones as Executive Producer Mo Abudu calls them. Whatever their line of reasoning was, I wish they’d altered some things. I wish they’d added more scenes to explain in better details why some characters behaved the way they did save for surface elements of shock factor. I wish the movie adaptation took its time to get a little more literal rather than leave a lot to be unearthed by literature scholars and diehard fans of Soyinka’s work.
So many wishes…
Yet, I wouldn’t call Elesin Oba a bad film; it’s far from that. Perhaps my bias comes from the fact that I, myself, am a lover of stage plays. Who knows anything for sure these days?
With a colorful cinematography, set pieces and costumes that aptly convey the time period the movie is set in (save for Elesin’s beards, please) Elesin Oba is far from the worst thing to come from EbonyLife Studio’s ongoing collaboration with Netflix this year. On to the next one.
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