Movie Review: Apaye; A Mother’s Love

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Over a month ago we featured the trailer of ‘Apaye; A mother’s Love’, encouraging our readers to go and check it out in cinemas. We think it is a good idea to let someone who did go and see it review it. Here’s Adedayo Adejobi’s review.

Emem Isongs faulty ‘Apaye’, a dis-jointed Biopic

For literary scholars enthusiasts and critiques who watched the recently released biopic- ‘Apaye’- a mothers love. The biographical film no doubt dramatizes the near-to real life of Yepayeye, an actual person.
The film Apaye shows the life of the central character- Yepayeye, a mother of six, whose no-good husband abandoned her for a small girl. She is left with six children to feed, clothe and cater for. After she toiled relentlessly, the husband of three wives shared their sweat amongst everyone except their children.
With the burden overlooking her shoulders, sickness was an unwelcomed guest, as her strength came to life through her father’s love. Her resolve found expression in these words, ‘‘my children and I will go and leave in peace’’.
Armed with the aforementioned resolve in the midst of the separation, lonesomeness and despair, her relentless search for a job and prayers paid off, as she got a job with a secondary school. Her joy was inexpressible and knew no bounds.
With partial hope restored, she became a mother to needy students, providing food for the hungry, and standing up for the needy. Her generousity and love for children came alive with her new job.
As life would play out its usual self, the tides changed with the government revoking its regulation on the feeding program which earned Yepayeye the cooking appointment in the secondary school. She lost her job and returned to status quo. This time, surviving with six children became hell on earth. To the poor like Yepayeye, luxury was a far-cry, as life in the marine base was unbearable with the landlord losing patience and evicting them because she couldn’t afford to pay rent as a single mother. These times in her life were a deluge of sorrows, tears and heart-rending moments, as the children had grown and jobless.
More than ever, knowing a God in heaven who sees, ears, cares and answers questions, she was determined to succeed, as it took her weeks to decide if it was in her best interest. She stayed, cried to God so much so the neighbours asked the children to take their mum to the psychiatrist. Life pushed her and she pushed. In the midst of all, she stood in God, and in him did she find victory.
In her words, ‘‘dreams come true for those who wake up pursue them. In 2011, I built God a house of worship to say thank you’’
On a structural and analytical critique of the movie ‘Apaye’, is a film set  in the creeks of odi Niger delta oil protectorate.
Because the figures portrayed are actual people, whose actions and characteristics are known to the public or at least historically documented), biopic roles are considered some of the most demanding of actors and actresses.
The film has some problems and has the potential to piss off an Artistic Documentary maker. Where ‘Apaye’ was able to set itself apart from  other movies is that it is a biopic which tries to force nostalgia and rips some of the most iconic moments, thus delivering the message completely out of context.
That said, if you can ignore that you’re a new ‘Apaye’ fan, then you probably won’t have that problem with the film. You’ll even enjoy it. It’s a fantastic biopic  with all the romantic, and humorous moments  with lots of fun- well worth checking it out.
On its own, Apaye doesn’t up the ante much but it plays to what the fans want and it’s got a fairly decent story. Granted, the story had the potential to be way better if they had only done something more original. But this is an alternate universe and a completely new way of looking at the classic series. I think that people need to set aside the expectations and judge the movie on its own merits.
So balancing both the classic series expectations and the new universe’s potential, I’d give this movie a B/C.
Sieving through the nitty, gritty of the movie, In particular, I loved the opening because it pulled my hearstrings. The first part of the movie was fantastic. A few minutes into the film, it became dis-jointed. The  editing  and probably the fact that the production team are armed with  too much research findings, the dis-joined storytelling approach makes it frustrating for a sharp literary mind..
However, the “Apaye’ character spurs a number of motivations for viewers.
For its considerable level of fabrication, one expected, the film no doubt  altered events to suit the storyline. The events are portrayed more dramatically than they occurred, as time in the movie is “condensed” to fit the storyline.
Although many viewers and critics forgive such fabrications for entertainment value, ‘Apaye’ as a biopics has come under criticism for allegations of deception and a dis-jointed storytelling approach.
On the whole, the biopic stretches the truth, showcasing western outlaw; a criminal; a great musical composer, a war-time military hero, the pains of a woman and six children in the throes of a father who is psychologically traumatised.
Based on the true story of “mama Yepayeye’, the story comes through as a very slippery turn of phrase. I find I’m always wary when I see it, sidling up to any book, film or hip new series toting the words with my eyes narrowed, no matter how much they promise to give me an insight into the life of a great the woman who has made history memorable, motivational and serious.
Not to say, of course, that I’m a villainous and harsh critic of all biopics, because a lot of them have won awards, gained huge fan followings and been generally accredited to be good pieces of art. But as to how much that art imitates life, well, that you have to take with a grain of salt.

At least most of them have the sense to say “inspired by” true events, because that’s closer to the truth in an industry that exists for playing with the truth. The truth is, most of the time it’s phenomenally difficult to make a story out of real things that have happened fact-for-fact because, even if most religions are in some way correct and the world as we know it was brought into being by some divine author, He, She or They did not plan every detail of every life out with a conventional narrative structure in mind. At least for most people, real life doesn’t move the way a story does.

For Nollywood filmmakers, the line between fiction and reality is a tightrope, and it doesn’t really bode well that writers and filmmakers are happily flinging themselves into the safety net below thinking either no one will care or ignoring those who do.

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