Sunday, May 5, 2024

Strained represents a step forward for Nigerian Cinema

Nigeria has a big population and important economic resources.  They have a history o film making.

It might be fair to say they have emphasized quantity more that quality.  They are second in films produced to India.  They have been developing the necessary skills to develop quality.

"Strained" (2023) deals with an all too human situation.  A misunderstanding from childhood.  There have been films and books about mothers abandoning their families.  The story is recurring enough that most of the time the act is the result of an abusive husband.  It takes a fair amount of abuse.  In some such cases the wife is able to take her children with her, but many times it was not prractial.  Children often do not understand and blame their mothers for the misery that follows 

You may have seen a few variations on this theme and there are not really many unique features.  In this film it is the husband who supports his mother in law.  A family problem to do with a business trip that forces the need for some help to mind the new baby.  The husband's sister is not able to help and out of desperation the hated mother comes.  We are very sympathetic to her.  They clash over breast feeding with the older women favoring it while her daughter uses a breast pump.  Diet is a source of conflict.  The situation does indeed smooth over a bit, but the mother upsets her daughter over a misjudgment.   While this was going on a close friend of the daughter had marital problems and evenutally both women helped resolve the situation. 

You feel the tension between the two women because of the two actors (with believable script and able direction).

Most of the films out of Nigeria have mass appeal, but this film requires more of a sophisticated audience.  There are a lot people with experience and exposed to foreigners the level diversity rises.  

The director, editor and producer, Okechukwo Oku has a varied background  The son of a promiment musician he was familiar with show business.  He directed, produced and musically performed with several music videos.  He has 29 credits as a cinematographer, 27 as a director 21 as editor and 4 as producer.

Onyinyechukwu Amadi was the writer.  She has 4 writing credits.   

Onyebeat with 5 credits provided the music.

Austin Ezeh was the cinematographer.  He has 10 credits as cinematography and 7 for the camera and electrical department.  Also had 2 acting credits. 

Tracey George played Eberle.  She has 9 acting crdits and one for Costume Department.

 Three other key actors were Padita Agu, Samuel Nnabuike and Queen Nwakoye.

 Available on Netflix in English with a minor subtitles for Igbo language.   There will be another post on Nigerian cincema in a few days.

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