Friday, December 24, 2010

Movie Review: I sing of a well.

Title: I sing of a well
Starring: John Agyeman, Akofa Asiedu, Godwin Kotey, Kofi Mends, Doris Sakitey, Prince David Osei, Luckie Lawson
Director: Leila Djansi
Executive producers: Akofa Asiedu, Leila Djansi, Ross Lamanna, Ambrose Augustt
Story: Leila Djansi
Year of production: 2010
Country: Ghana
Language: English/Ewe
Genre: Historical Drama

Prologue: There was a lot of drama before, during and after the making of this movie. You can read about some of it here and here, or you can just google Akofa and Leila and get an eyeful. They really did not get along during the making of this movie. Given that background, I was expecting something really horrible. But honestly, I liked the story. I really did. I hyped it here last year if there is any interest in going back to look at that.

What is the story about? Soraya is engaged to Dume a common hunter in the village. They want to get married, but the bride price set by her uncles (her father is dead) is way too high, so he continues to work to raise the money. In the meantime, Soraya catches the eye of the crown prince and he demands her hand in marriage. How does this work out for Soraya, Dume and the kingdom itself?

Click here to continue on to trailer and review

Trailer below:

Review: The only way to think about this movie is as some sort of cross between Lion King and the story of King David and Bethsheba in the bible. You know - the horrible things people are willing to do to get what they want. I really liked it. First I liked the story, even though it started slow, I really got into it eventually. I loved the cinematography. I really liked the music - very creative. I liked most of the acting - I think the casting was mostly spot on. This movie was very technically proficient, the sound was pristine, the pictures just sparkling. Veery nice. Somebody worked very hard.

What did I not like? Weeeeelll, some of it was very clinical, very antiseptic. Too "clean"? I think the complaint from Leila was that it was artsy in one of the articles I read. I certainly agree. It never really grabbed me emotionally. I admired it, I enjoyed it, but I did not get emotionally involved in it because I did not really believe Akofa.  Actually, this very astute lady says it better than I ever could:

I actually had mixed feelings while watching this. I'd heard about Akofa Spike Lee'ing her way into this movie ( shout out to Atlakos who coined the phrase), and it was pissing me off throughout the movie. Now, I'm supposed to believe that Akofa's character Soraya is wanted by not only her bethrothed Dume the hunter, but also Prince Wenambe. She's suppposed to be so captivating that both men are willing to fight for her. I admit that this maybe coming from a shallow place (and I own it), BUT if you are in the twilight of your 40's, and you LOOK LIKE you are in the twilight of your 40's, you choose to overrule the director, and insist you must play the part of a "maiden" because you will never play anyone's mother, PUT IN THE DAMN WORK!!!..(you have to look the part)...I was sooooooooo irritated. Angela Basset put in the work for her role in "How Stella got her Groove Back", and you could see why Taye Diggs was checkin' for her.. the cast of the Color Purple was on Oprah, and Margaret Avery who played Shug Avery is 66, the movie was shot 25 years ago, and she still was selling it today as the sexy Shug Avery. ...My point is, these women did the necessary things they needed to do, to sell the story....Akofa simply did not..It seemed like she thought that being Akofa the actress was enough.... I did not believe that these two men were honestly fighting over her, and I can see why Leila was pissed, and washed her hands off the movie.
I truly want Leila to shoot this movie again, because even with my gripes, her talent as a storyteller and director are undeniable...I want to watch HER story.

I think people were too scared to tell Akofa that she was ill-suited for the role, because of who she is/was..this is really an artist, you can truly begin to believe, or construct your own hype if left unchecked, and this is what I think happened in this case

Do not get me wrong. Akofa was good, but it could have been soooo much better with a less clinical actress. There was something missing in all the scenes. A certain oomph was just not there. Omotola or Genevieve would have torn that role to shreds!! I have to give kudos to Akofa for one scene though, the one where the prince went in to her for the first time. Hmmm! It was a very artfully shot scene. Or perhaps I should give kudos to Leila for that scene. It conveyed her distaste for the king and her unwilling submission to his body. It was just different. Very well done.

And of course, since it was designed to be trilogy, we were left desiring more. Hmmm! Now that director and producer are fighting, are we going to see the conclusion of this movie? Me I enjoyed the story o. I can guess what happened of course, but I still want to see it. So will the rest of the story get made? The answer my friends, is blowing in the wind! LOL!

Worldview/Philosophy/Important lessons: He who sows the wind shall reap the whirlwind. Leila wrote this story and it is supposed to be historical Ghana, and yet I saw so many biblical elements in it. The scene where the king goes to consult the lady seer reminded me so much of Saul in desperation turning to a diviner as the battle turned against him. And then we also have the element of David and Bathsheba, where David was desiring what does not belong to him.  Pretty deep movie, I liked it.

Rating: 7.5/10 - good acting, technically proficient, but too little chemistry. I do recommend it. It was well done.

Availability: All three online retailers have it at the moment.


barbarellanoir said...

Excellent review!!!...Great blog by the way.

movielover said...

Thanks darling. Thanks for the compliments and for stopping by!!

Imani Warren said...

Where can I get this movie...

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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