Producer: Biodun Stephen
Director: Dimeji Ajibola
Script: Biodun Stephen
Cast: Bisola Aiyeola, Shaffy Bello, Mofe Duncan, and Uche Ogbodo
“There is a master way with words which is not learned but is instead developed: a deaf man develops exceptional vision, a blind man exceptional hearing, a silent man, when given a piece of paper…” ― Criss Jami, Venus in Arms
In “Ovy’s Voice” Bisola Aiyeola of Big Brother Nigeria Fame, plays Ovy; and she is speech impaired. She communicates by writing on pieces of paper and as such, she carries a notebook along with her wherever she goes. She’s able to clearly express her anxiety and pain through these papers, sometimes through text messages too.
It is fascinating that when we first meet her, we do not meet a woman that appeals to the audience by being a pitiable figure. Ovy is bold, she is a make-up artist with a studio of her own, and we do not meet her sulking. In fact, the first time we see her get angry is because Anaan (Mofe Duncan) a man who she meets at a car park and who has blocked her car from moving calls her a beggar. She sulks over this and because of that she holds a grudge.
Ovy is bold, strong and graceful. She is the poster figure of a hardworking woman; she boasts of important clients that patronize her make-up studio for makeovers, and Anaan’s mother (Shaffy Bello) happens to be one of those clients. Subsequently, she meets Anaan again. This time, they bury the hatchet, reconcile their grievances and fall in love.
Ovy’s Voice has a great weapon, and it is not because it keeps us eager by having a mute central figure, it is because there is a lot to this central figure. The story does not end up as a love story, it is an abuse story. Because of Ovy’s behavior from the first scene, we assume that she has been mute from birth but we soon realize, that her condition was the aftermath of the constant sexual abuse she received from her from her father. From the age of 12, her father starts abusing her sexually and her mother feels shadowed by societal analysis and so she keeps quiet about it. She does not protect her daughter; neither does she confront the man.
While the story is engaging, the loophole comes from the fact that Anaan is the one that saves Ovy from her years of seclusion. We see Ovy’s resistance to men and we think it is quite normal, but Anaan changes everything. It is because of him she opens up to her cousin Yvonne (Uche Ogbodo) who has been with her since they were twelve. The writer almost ruins the story by making Anaan the hero, instead of allowing Ovy to continue as the strong girl that we see from the start.
The acting is great! Shaffy Bello is not the usual swift talking high-class woman in “Ovy’s Voice”. She takes on a completely different role, as a full Yoruba persona with an interesting accent to back it up. Her time on screen is limited but she does a memorable job. Bisola Aiyeola also does a job worth commending, as the mute Ovy she is swift and her action throughout the film is the reason we stay hooked. Uche Ogbodo is different here but great and so is Mofe Duncan.
Ovy’s voice is not a fast-paced film, it slowly makes its point and even though it takes too long to do this, there is a lesson to learn from the production, at least if not for anything, for the exposure of one of the many effects of child abuse.
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.