Director: Dare Olaitan
Producer: Olufemi Ogunsawayo and Dare Olaitan
Script: Dare Olaitan
Cast: Charles Etubiebe, Seun Ajayi, Tope Tedela, Emmanuel Ikubuese, Ali Nuhu, Somkhele idhalama, Oyetoro Hafiz, Kayode Olaiya, Wale Ojo and Linda Ejiofor
Date of Release: 17th March, 2017
In a scene in Ojukokoro, an elderly man, simply referred to as Baba (Kayode Aderupoko) arrives a fuel station, it is the period of fuel scarcity and when he decides to fuel his car, the attendants at the station are ignorant of his presence. He tries to get their attention, they know he is there, but they do not care. And when he reprimands them, they fight him; they even seize his car keys and ask him to pay for ruining their game. The scene is one among the many involving a severe detachment from work. In Ojukokoro it is all about the money. Who cares about work? Nobody!
We are introduced to Andrew (Charles Etubiebi) he guides us through the narrative. He starts by telling us of an impending death, he can only survive if he has 10Million Naira. There is a mystery to this, we do not know if someone is after him for money or if there is a health problem he needs money for. The day is also his birthday and he decides to visit his brother’s house. His brother, Jubrill (Ali Nuhu) is a politician and his wife has just been kidnapped. They talk about the possibilities of getting Shade (Somkhele Idhalama) back. Andrew ends up with a birthday parcel and he leaves for work without checking what the birthday parcel contains. Andrew is the manager of a petrol station, Lubcon.
Lubcon is a struggling petrol station but it is where crime flourishes. We meet all sorts of characters at Lubcon. The Accountant (Emmanuel Ikubuese) survives on hard drugs. The attendants, Monday and Sunday (Seun Ajayi and Tope Tedela) are wild boys that survive on their expletive exchange and the guards, a father and son duo, are all about telling each other stories.
Ojukokoro starts with great promise and it holds that promise to the end. It is an experience through the power of greed. Greed is a character in Ojukokoro. Greed is a slimy and ghostly character that is sprinkled on every other character in the film and as Dare Olaitan lays it to us, Greed is the greatest problem of man. Dare dives into the dark world of greed and explores the devious schemes of that world. Dare creates a world that functions on greed and is destroyed by greed too.
There are different facets to the story; first is a dubious and scheming politician who has the wealth of the world and yet his bother cannot tell him he is suffering from lung cancer. Jubril acquires 100Million Naira from foreigners and his colleague who is hungry for a share organizes the kidnap of Jubril’s wife for a ransom. The Kidnapper, Mad Dog Max (Wale Ojo) is also in need of the money and instead of deliver it to the politician that has hired him for the dirty job; he decides to run away with his family. Greed appears just in time to trigger Mad Dog Max to look for more money and when he ends up at Lubcon, he gets more than he bargained for. Ojukokoro gets sad at the tail end because instead of teaching a lesson to the bad guys, death starts and innocent people get killed.
Ojuokokoro is the best film of this first quarter of the year. It is superbly written, the dialogue has an expletive strength that fuels our interest from the first scene to the last scene. Dare Olaitan’s blend of different languages in one film is the greatest pleasure of the film; the writer’s knowledge of different languages is impressive. We hear Hausa, we hear Yoruba, we hear English as it should be spoken, but we also hear it as West Africans have twisted it; the Pidgin English. Pidgin dominates the film and it is why there is a subtitle for those that have no idea what the actors are saying. The use of pidgin in Ojukokoro is fantastic. It is a ploy by the filmmakers to create a film to the advantage of the masses and it works.
Ojukokoro is energetic. It is a richly textured, wild and unrelenting work of art. It radiates with hints of humor, this humor is churned out unexpectedly, and then we are back to violence. It mixes violence with humor proportionately, so that you don’t define the film as one while ignoring the other.
The actors are enviously brilliant. Charles Etubiebe is our guide through the whole film, his layered performance as Andrew is the highlight of the film. His dialogue with other actors might be limited but he makes good use of his body, and his voice is calming through the wild adventures of the film. Emmanuel Ikubuese does something exceptional with the drug addict character; he is the humor through the story. Tope Tedela is exceptional and so is Shawn Faqua. They all dive into a new terrain and it is because of these actors, we enjoy Ojukokoro. They connive with the director to make a film that everybody has to watch.
About the Author
Rejoice Abutsa is a 22-year-old aspiring Filmmaker and a big dreamer. She’s also a ‘Theatre and film’ arts graduate from the University of Jos, Nigeria.