Good Product. Bad thinking - Focus on a Ghanaian movie

If I were to ask this question – ‘What really defines taking African movie industry to the next level?’ I’m sure I would get so many answers that point in terms of quality; technological enhancements, camera shooting techniques, special effects among a host of other things that would add interesting output to any movie.



But do sex scenes in movies really define taking the industry to the next level?



I know some people will argue that it is but I beg to disagree. It is not the amount of sex in a movie that makes the movie a classic masterpiece.



Okay, before I digress, let me go straight to the reason for writing this. It has to do with a Ghanaian movie that was released sometime earlier this year; I’m talking of the movie ‘Kiss me if you can’ which starred Prince david Osei, Martha Ankormah and was written and directed by Kobi Rana.




I just got to watch the movie on video recently and was thinking of doing a review of it but out of curiosity decided to find out what people really said about it. From my findings I discovered a lot has been said about the movie. Before it was shown, a trailer came out on Youtube and what people saw was shocking – it had explicit sex scenes spliced all over it. This was surprising because it was very misleading; it gave the movie the image of it being ‘soft porn’ and instantly all over the internet people condemned it, it was reported that it would get banned in Ghana.



The trailer also failed to give any storyline or tease synopsis – which I believe is why a trailer is produced in the first place. Instead it was just scenes of sex, faces, people running here and there and action that says practically nothing. True, you need to sell your movie but do you have to sell the sex and forget the main content?





I say this because the actual story was quite interesting – it’s about two heartbroken people whose paths cross; the guy wants to be involved with the lady but she’s not interested. The guy would do anything to get her and goes through hell to try and win her love till his friend convinces him to go the ‘jazz’ route.



They get a love potion from a female shaman which requires that he makes sure his love interest eats the food laced with it. Unfortunately, it’s the lady’s brother that eats the food and all hell breaks loose because if lover boy neglects the person who took the potion, he would run mad and die.




Yet the trailer never gave any hint about this. Even the movie poster managed to echo the actual story with the haunting question: ‘What is the worst thing you could do to save your life?’



Then in my search I came across an interview session on of one of the film’s stars, Martha Ankormah and director, Kobbi Rana, who also wrote and starred in the movie. The interview was quite an expose in the sense that it revealed some things, especially Kobbi Rana’s mindset that explicit sex scenes was the next level in African movie making.

Haba!




Here are excerpts from the interview. My reactions to the statements are in yellow.


The host asks a question concerning Martha’s role and about the movie and at a point she says this:



Martha: It’s a family movie. People think it’s rated 18 so people under 15 and 16 can’t watch but I can promise you, they can watch because it doesn’t have that much of sex scenes in there.

Hmm…but you had a trailer that’s saying otherwise? And the movie does have vivid sex scenes which won’t be palatable for family viewing. It even starts with a sex scene!



Host: Where are we going (the Ghana movie industry), which direction, where do we want to go with all this? It looks like we keep projecting…

Kobi: (cutting in) Actually it’s simple – Hollywood. Its about time, gone are the days we had clothes on the floor, we pan from the clothes to the bed where we have people having sex and the big blanket…come on, Ghana has come of age…

Come of age in what? Soft Porn? Is it the sex scene that shows that the industry has moved forward or rather gotten sleazy? Is it sex scenes that would make Hollywood check you out?



Host: How does it feel Martha, with your tongue in (the mouth of) a man you’re not going out with. I want to understand…

Martha: Okay…let me come…

Kobi: (Cutting them short before Martha could respond) I was naked with that girl.

O-k-a-y! Dude just confessed but he seemed so eager to do it!



Host: You were naked in that movie with your buttocks, I saw it!

LOL! @ the way he ephasized buttocks!


Kobi: It was acting. My character was naked with that girl in the sex act.

Duh!


Martha: If you know what she…


Host: (his attention is caught by kobbie’s statement)


Kobi: With the ‘Kiss me if you can’, the sex scene with the Farida character, we were naked…and we were doing it.




Host: You didn’t have pant on, nothing.


Kobi: Nothing. As you saw in the trailer, on youtube right now, we were naked in that scene, we had the entire crew in the room; from make-up artiste, make-up girl to costume girl to camera person to lights man…

Errmm are we to give a standing ovation to that? WTH??



Host: Is it the right way to go if you want to …talk about best productions, if you want to say, we’ve come of age. Are those the signs…?

Kobi: …It’s about telling the story fearlessly…

Host: So you think that’s a direction?

Kobi: It’s a directorial concept. If we had done it with the blankets or with the boxer shorts on, the same audience would have said, ‘Ghanaians are too fake’…

Directorial concept? Gimme a break! Is that a concept or just being plain explicit?


Host: (facing camera) Definitely you’ll need to catch them at the National theatre if you can…because they are trying to tell us that this is where we (Ghollywood) are now...

LOL! I sensed some slight sarcasm there!


Later Kobi says towards the end of the interview…

Kobi: And the message (of the movie) is simple; no matter what your ambition is, don’t stop at nothing. Go for it.

Wrong! That’s not the message of the movie. Rather it’s simply this – ‘Stay away from Jazz. It will either ruin your life or kill you!’ Haba! No be you write am?




At this point I'd like to note that this is not the only Ghanaian movie that perpetuated the act of shooting and filling up it's trailer more with explicit sex scenes. There are others which I just won't mention out of the disdain for movie makers who delight in turning a good storyline into a soft porn fest.

On the whole the movie had a good storyline with fast paced action that kept you on the edge of your seat; like an online journal put it – ‘It is an amazing trio of comedy, thriller and tragedy’. Also the dialogues in the movie were well developed and matured in nature. It wasn’t therefore a surprise to me when I gathered that it took the writer 3 years to put it together. I guess it paid off.



Still, as far as I’m concerned, the movie would still have been real good if you removed the sex scenes!



13 Screamer(s):

Dee! said...

OMG! What???
I have not watched the film, so I would not be in a position to comment...

But in an answer to your question, I do not believe sex scenes in movies would takie the African movies to the next level.

Have a blessed weekend!

I don't believe sex scenes automatically translate to the next level, but I do agree with Kofi when he speaks about being believable. Yes, that will be the turning point for the Africa movie industry when we are able to make movies and people actually mistake acting for real life.

But does going naked and grinding against someone mean you are believable? Not necessarily. The point here is are the sex scenes really necessary? Is it something you cannot dispense with, is there no other way of showing that sex happened between that man and that woman? Is that scene adding to or removing from the movie?

I think it was Aristotle's poetics(not quite sure now) that said something about there must not be a scene in a play (movie) which could be dispensed with.

If the sex scenes are actually necessary and actually add to the power of the message and are done right and in a way that is believable then the movie should be censored appropriately and sold to people who may want to watch it.

If not then the movie should be ignored like I ignore hoards of bad movies from Africa. Maybe they were just looking for cheap popularity sha.

Now that i have taken over your blog... (smiling sheepishly)

Myne Whitman said...

Poetically tinted has made a very apt comment. It's a pity that the director also became derailed from the real story and message behind the movie.

Olufunke said...

Yet to see the movie, so I don't know what to say,
and i really agree with Poetically tinted and

@ poetically tinted LOL@.."now that I have taken over your blog"

Nice reviews from you as always afronuts

Have not seen the movie & i don't have interest in watching African films because of the poor production & copy cat syndrome....can't we see anything good to emulate from hollywood than sex?...as i write, am watching spartacus with hubby & it's full of sex scenes..no wonder the hype around it....am yet to get anything from it, so i am browsing & partially watching......it's not our culture to display our emotions publicly like the whites do...such as kissing....i have a problem with our action films also....it makes me laugh to see our actors in trench coats, bowler hats abi cowboy sef & talking tough, holding guns,shooting away like how kids play on the streets, shouting at each other..BANG! BANG! BANG!...oya fall nah i don shoot you.....we are good at drama telling the world the everyday problems that is in our society & the moral lessons behind each story, lets be ORIGINAL & be accepted for who we are just as bollywood is known for their love songs & dance.weldone Afronuts, really liked this topic. how is family?

AlooFar said...

sounds interesting. u fit borrow me the movie?

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2cute4u said...

I don't watch Ghanaian movies.. It's bad enough that their acting isn't as natural as that of some good nollywood movies.. but the xxxx scenes? HELL NO! Make I dey watch whities and their own.

...I haven't watched a Nigerian/Ghanaian movie in so long...it would be one thing if they had tasteful sex scenes...but I doubt that is the case.

Nollywood said...

I have no problems with sex scenes they should just not be gratuitous. Every movie is not a kiddie family movie and neither should they be.

I never saw the movie and I don't think I will except I am sitting where it is showing on movie magic or is it African Magic? Anyway, Poeticallytinted has said it all. It was as if she took words out of my mouth.

"explicit sex scenes was the next level in African movie making". In fact I say HABA too? If this is the concept, they can just do pornography instead...

Afronuts said...

@Dee…yeah!

@Poeticallytinted…Well said! Infact, you don add join the blog sef!

@Myne…its really a pity.

@Olufunke…thanks!

@Nitty-gritty…lol! Na true you talk oh!!

@Aloofar…visit the nearest video club bros…dem dey scattered all ova the place

@2cute4u…lol! You love dem whities sha!

@Nollywood…lol…you didn’t get my point.

@Standtall…that’s what I said too oh!

yehni djidji said...

I totally agree with you...good storyline, spoiled with too explicit and uneccessary sex scenes.
It's like this singer/writer/director was eager to kiss actresses, and go nude before the camera cause I saw another of his movie, it was the same thing minus the good story line.
And he is always the guy playing the worse sex scenes...Ghana has a censor bord or not?
Even if the next level is a synonym of sex can't they just do it tastefully, properly, artistically, like shirley Manso in her "perfect picture"....please!