October 1, Uber and a Happy Independence to Nigeria.

“Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable…. Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.”

The above quote was by Martin Luther King Jr, speaking about a dark time for African Americans when vigorous and positive action was needed. I would like to adapt it as follows:

“The progress of Nigerian Cinema will neither be automatic nor inevitable…. Every step toward the goal of quality film making requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated filmmakers.”

The past few years have shown a significant level of progress within the Nigerian film industry; there has been an increase in the number of good movies produced for the cinema and the level of Nigerian participation at film festivals both home and abroad. There has also been an increase in the level of government/private sector participation and sponsorship in the Nigerian film industry which has resulted in projects like ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’, ‘Being Mrs Elliot’ and current blockbuster ‘October 1’ hitting our local screens.

All this did not happen overnight or because somebody flicked a wand somewhere, it all happened because of the passion and hard-work a crop of filmmakers have decided to adapt to their craft. There seems to be a fire burning in the hearts of some Nigerian filmmakers and it appears they are determined to outdo themselves with every new project. THIS IS AMAZING and I aint gonna complain one bit!

Since HoAYS hit our screens, I had been eagerly awaiting the release of ‘October 1’; not because I thought it was the only movie on the radar that could give HoAYS a run for its money (production-wise) but because I really wanted to analyse which was better considering one had a ₦1.2billion budget while the other had a ₦330million budget.

IMAG0523_2[1]IMAG0551_1[1]Unfortunately, as one who has professional exams to write later this year, I was hit with the beautiful news that I had lectures all day on October 1st and as a serious student, I was determined to attend my classes. However, upon checking the cinema show times, I realized there was a glimmer of hope and I could make it all work (these cinemas love me mehn). In comes Uber.

I don’t know if you’ve heard about the Uber app; it’s a mobile application that connects users with private drivers for luxury rides across Lagos. Anyways, October 1st had decided to be an amazingly wet day and I was in a fix about how to get to class and then the cinemas in time without looking like a wet chicken. Hence I did what any awoof loving Nigerian would do and ordered a ride on the app….. Not only did this get me out of my jam, omo, these guys made sure I rode around like a king, looking like a million bucks.

So even though I had spent the first half of my Independence Day enjoying lectures, evening came and I was eagerly on my way to watch rave of the moment ‘October 1’ by @kunleafolayan in my Uber ride.

I had not spent up to ten minutes in the cinema when I felt like crying awesome tears of joy. I had made the right choice to go watch this movie. The setting, the acting, the look the feel, the costumes, EVERYTHING just looked so well thought out and implemented with great attention to detail.

While all the production elements were so superb, they are just icing to an already delicious cake which was the plot. Talk about a good story to tell; one that did not feel recycled, one that kept you guessing well enough, one that kept the thrill of watching up unto the very end, then we are talking about ‘October 1’.

October-1-movie-sceneI don’t think there is something about this film I did not like. It has taken me a few days to write this review because I was trying to recollect if there was something that could have been done better, but apart from Agbekoya’s James Bond stunt towards the end I came up a little dry. Well someone complained that it was long, but I didn’t notice that one bit, in fact I was glad it wasn’t one of those films that gets you the point of where you are really enjoying yourself and then abruptly ends.

Continuity was the best I have seen in a Nigerian film, pacing of the story was adequate enough but the most impressive element in this movie was the Cast.

Sadiq Daba, Kayode Olaiya (who I would like to see in something else), Kehinde Bankole and Kanayo O. Kanayo carried their roles with ease. Deola Sagoe as Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti was an amazing cameo and Kayode Aderupoko as Inspector Afonja was just splendid.

‘October 1’ does an amazing job of entertaining but also tackles strong elements that have been missing from Nigerian Cinema for too long. It is not too hard to imagine the story actually play out in 1950s Nigeria and the fact that it was released to coincide with our Independence this year was a brilliant tactic; it sure was a nice way to say Happy Independence Nigeria.

2BKunle Afolayan has set a bar for Nigerian Cinema. I hope fellow film makers will take this as a challenge and hit us left right and centre in the coming years with such superb works.

I doff my hat to everyone involved in the making of this movie.  Una do well


P.S. If you want to enjoy an Uber ride yourself, you can click here.

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