It’s amazing how we tend to forget the stories that brought us joy and happiness, scenes and lines that made us feel the excitement, a tinge of sadness and characters portrayed philosophies and ideals we can somehow relate to one way or another. That’s why we have decided to go back in time and revisit the classics, movies that made Nollywood what it is today with; check out the production, storyline and quality characterization. Our first retro movie to be reviewed is one that made waves back in the days, some even said it was inspired by true life events. Nonetheless, Domitilla still remains a favorite among Nigerian film lovers.
- Produced by– Zeb Ejiro
- Directed by- Peter Red Ejiro
- Written by– Ken Oghenejabor
- Cast- Annette Njemanze, Sandra Achums, Kate Henshaw, Ada Ameh, Basorge Tariah Jr, Enebeli Elebuwa
Domitilla is a story of a typical Nigerian young lady in her mid-twenties who was trying to get ahead in life. Saddled with the responsibility of catering for her aged and ailed father coupled with sponsoring her siblings to school, she was forced to embrace the nightlife of a commercial sex worker. The character played by Ann Njemanze was an office assistant by day and sex for hire beauty at night, this she did with three other friends who were like sisters. Jenny- Kate Henshaw, Judith- Sandra Achums and Anita played by Ada Ameh.
It is pertinent to note that the Zeb Ejiro Produced flick had a superb storyline that came in two parts. The movie opened with a scene from the streets, the ladies showcasing their goods to customers who came in different shapes, sizes and wallets to patronize them. What better way to start a movie about prostitutes you might say right? The lead character tried her best to juggle between working as an office assistant, a sex worker at night while still trying to find balance with hopes and dreams of meeting a man that will sweep her off her feet and make an honest woman out of her. If only it were that easy.
Things took a drastic turn when one of her friends (Jenny) was murdered in what seemed like a money ritual motivated killing, leaving Domitilla, Judith and Anita left to mourn. Now I must confess that Sandra Achums wowed me with her spellbound performance, she exuded raw emotions of someone truly in pains, confused and lost. An exceptional performance of someone who was both angry and defeated. Kudos girl! That was some acting.
Moving on, they all started on different paths. Quitting the life they had known for so long wasn’t easy, however, Jenny’s death was more of wake up call. The story ended with the vindication of Domitilla in court, she was accused of Killing Chief Jim; the man who changed her life and made her “clean” again. Yes it was easy to accuse her since she and Jim spent a lot of time together in a hotel (where he was found dead by poison, giving to him by the hotel manager who spiked a drink the actually meant for Domitilla), it was more frustrating for her because her past was used as an avenue to judge her guilty even before appearing in court.
The movie as fantastic as it was in terms of content, lacked rich dialogue. Though I must confess that the use of local slangs was quite refreshing and hugely entertaining, it added that touch of comedy that cracked me up hard. I relived the old days we used words like “shuo, which levels, kak well etc”. Picture quality was not top notch, soundtrack overshadowing dialogue in many scenes, the subtitle was completely off and camera angles was disappointing. In all the movie had some life lessons, it exposed the stigma associated with prostitutes, how society has branded them liars, thieves, and second class citizens, people without honour. They are humans too with emotions and feelings. Domitilla is a film that also showcased the life of an ordinary girl struggling to make ends meet in a cruel world and of true friendship and sisterhood.
Looking back now, I must say that Ann Njemanze and her co-stars did well on this one. The plot was okay (judging from the lenses of 1996), the costume was on point and location- nice (the ghetto like spots). While we wait to review the part two, I encourage you to go see the movie again. Watch with keen interest, and share your comments, contributions, and questions. Let’s discuss.
- Credits – Mikky Anyangbeso