Monday, November 30, 2009

Movie Review: Lost Maiden 1, 2 &3

Title: Lost Maiden

Starring: Omotola Jolade Ekeinde, Bimbo Akintola, Kalu Ikeagwu, Chisom Oz-Lee, Halima Abubaker, Ngozi Ezeonu

Screenplay: Chisom Oz-Lee, Abigail Anaba, Emem Isong

Director: Moses Inwang

Producer: Chisom Oz-Lee

Year: 2009

Country: Nigeria

Genre: Drama

Language: English

Synopsis: After an opening scene of a little girl wandering around in what appears to be some kind of dreamland (no worries, all is explained by the end of the movie), the movie moves on to a scene with a panel of experts arguing over the merits or demerits of female circumcision. This movie tells two stories – one is kind of a short film detailing the experience of two sisters in a village – Maria (acted by Blessing Kalu ) and her sister Eno (Halimat Abubaker) being forced to undergo female circumcision as part of the coming of age and preparation for marriage rites. This story is narrated by one of the experts on the panel. The larger story of the movie involves the return of Dr. April Jodi (Chisom Oz-Lee) to Nigeria. Dr. Jodi graduated from a medical school in America and has decided to do her residency in Nigeria. Initially planning to work in a more elitist hospital, she happens to catch the panel on female circumcision on TV and decides to work in Calsy hospital in Umari village. There she meets Dr. Phil (Kalu Ik) and his girlfriend (Omotola). In addition, she makes friends with a reporter (Bimbo Akintola) assigned to investigate the story of an anti-circumcision priest who suddenly met with some adverse circumstances. When Dr. Jodi decides to join in the fight against “tradition”, things get really interesting.


Positives: It took me a while to dig out the movie and watch it after buying it. I expected it to be preachy, boring, linear, predictable. How wrong I was. I loooved it. LOOOOVED IT. Outstanding effort to deal with a pertinent social issue without being overly preachy.

What did I like?

First of all the village scenes, especially at the beginning - excellent. I don't think even oyinbos could have done it any better. Very realistic, very welldone.

The dialogue: Was logical, flowing, actually intelligent in places! Very nicely done. Somebody gave the screenplay some thought, instead of just throwing crap together on screen.

The casting: Mostly spot on. Kalu and Omot? So cute together. Kalu is just so suave. That is the word – suave. Played the doctor role beautifully. And the scenes with Omot – I liked their chemistry.. Omot, girlfriend delivered as always. The delectable Bimbo A. played a reporter in this movie. She played it with panache. In fact, somebody really worked hard to fill in al the roles here – round peg in round holes -from king to mother to uncle to chiefs to everybody. Excellent casting!

The acting: Mostly top notch. Kalu, Omot, Madam Hannah (Cassandra Odita), Chief Amadi (Ken Odurukwe), Halima Abubakar – fabulous acting. Completely real.

Even the hospital scenes! I hate hospital scenes in Naija movies. HATE THEM. But in this one, the hospital scenes were sooooo good. Believable. The terminology was mostly spot on. The setting was realistic. I was like woohooooo! Das warram talking about. Okay, fine: actual doctors may complain about some of the hospital scenes, but compared to what we usually see in Naija movies, this is on another level completely. What!! They actually tried to get the terminology right? Round of applause!

And the ending - predictable until the end. Then wosai!!! I did not see that coming at all At first, I was like, this ending sef, how could they make the ending of such a good film so boring? Boy, did they surprise me! I actually applauded at the end. That is how impressed I was.

And technically, a very high quality production. Sound was very good, picture quality, camera work, Nice!

The weak link was Dr April (Ms. Chisom herself). Here is the thing - She was the producer for this movie, and it felt like a vanity project to me. She cast herself in the lead, and was front and center in the movie. And she wasn't horrible. There were times when she was actually watchable, particularly when she had to give medical related lectures. She is a medical person (a nurse in real life), and it was clear that she know her stuff in that regard. Problem was, everybody else was sooo much better than her. Everybody! And she had this big hair that I found it very, very distracting. The other weak link, though he was not there for too long, was the museum curator. Daang! The dude was baaddd (and not in a good way, LOL)!!
I also wish they could have done without some of the falling in love. There was no chemistry for one particular couple (one half of that couple being Dr. April). That was not necessary. At all. It ended up trivializing some of the story to me.

And yes the three part thing, that was annoying too, considering that each part was just about an hour each. I think they do that primarily for the Nigerian market, where they sell each vcd disk separately. For me though, it did not make much difference. All three parts are on one dvd.

Underlying theme/lessons/worldview/philosophy: While our history and culture are very important aspects of our lives, some practices have outlived their usefulness and need to be changed. However, getting people who are committed to a certain way of life to change is a difficult and complicated process. And as we see from this movie, some people will never change their minds, no matter how much evidence they are presented with. I believe this movie did an excellent job of presenting both the opportunities and difficulties associated with this process of change.

The story was actually quite creative - educational and entertaining, which is quite a feat because in many Naija films, those concepts tend to be mutually exclusive.I really enjoyed it. It was able to catch and keep my attention from start to finish. I found it well thought out, well planned, well casted, well acted (in general). Highly recommended! Just for that ending alone - For surprising me!

Rating: 8.5/10

More reviews here and here.

Availability: Bought my copy here, but check all three.

ps: If you are curious about the producer Chisom Oz-Lee and her other projects, you can check her website and this interview for more information about her. I do hope that she listens to the voice of the people and stays behind the camera though. She has good film instincts, she is just not a good actress.


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This website is devoted to fans of African movies who want to know which ones are worth watching. We only review above average movies on this site. The purpose is to give props to the actors, producers and directors who have squeezed water out of rocks and created decent entertainment against all odds. If you want to review a movie for us, please email We would be happy to feature all good african film, regardless of age, or origin. Thanks for stopping by