In Nollywood, it is not usual to see movies that treat engaging issues. Our overused themes are love, witchcraft, triumph of good over evil, prostituon, heavy juju and other mundane issues that make one wonder if our lots and lives in Africa are not more than that of an herbalist sitting in a hut. Who lives in a hut nowadays anyway?
Champion of our time is from Chidi Nwokeabia and it proves once and for all that Nollywood producers are not all dunces (pardon our language). The movie is an advocacy flick which focuses on the challenges of people living with disability and for the first time in a long while, a Nollywood movie ends without people falling in love as if it’s all Nigerians do with their spare time.
It is the story of two kids. Sophia and Sharon .That the movie plays on contrasts is so obvious right from the beginning. Treasure Obasi (Sophia) is the daughter of Eromosele (Ngozi Ezeonu) while Feyisola Ewulomi(Sharon) is the daughter of Temple Ikeji
( Benjamin Umoh) .
Ngozi is the poor single mother of Sophia who is confined to a wheelchair while Sharon is the daughter of the very rich Umoh who is also a presidential adviser.
The movie starts with Umoh and his family introducing viewers to their opulent lifestyle as they are being honoured while Sophia is introduced from another setting on wheel chair as her mates are playing the very common ten-ten( a past time amongst teenage girls). The opening scenes depict a very good use of contrasts, an often forgotten dramatic tool in Nollywood.
The two major characters’ path crossed at a national quiz competition and the best student won. The two child actors are exceptional.
The movie treats an issue we all avoid. Disability. It raises questions on why we readily prefer the able-bodied over the disabled, why high-rise buildings don’t make provision for people with disabiblity and why the society cheats them directly or indidirectly. The issues raised in this movie are a lesson for all. The theme scores far above average. Segun Arinze, Ayo Adesanya (making a return to English movies), Charles Injie, Ngozie Ezeonu, and Joke Silva added a lot of colour to it and delivery was not an issue. Even the two kids, Sophia and Sharon put up a superlative performance.
The locations and pictures are clear enough.
However as good as this movie is , it has some areas that could be worked on before it hits the cinema.
The soundtrack could be better. A movie with heavy presence of child actors should have a memorable soundtrack for both kids and adults.
The title , Champions of our time is off the line. It could have been titled “Sharon and Sophia”. Also the sound effects are not perfect yet. Since the copy we had was a preview, the producer should work on the sound effects as flunctuations in sound tempo will limit a good cinema experience. By the way, the body language of Ngozi Ezeonu to Temple Ikeji when she realised that they both share a past is too suggestive. One wonders what warranted that when they were not intimate .
Despite these, this movie is a must-see for those who love beautiful stories with a touch of intellectualism. It is the kind of movie children watch and they vow to be the best while adults would watch and pause for a while. Chidi, the producer, has proved that beautiful movies have nothing to do with complexity. It is the art of twisting simplicity and rolling the camera to make sense.
Charles Inojie and Joke Silva as project coordinator and chairlady respectively delivered their roles well and Charles acted as if he genuinely has something against the disabled.
To show that the theme is something we should all support, let’s all patronize the movie when it eventually debuts at the cinemas.