‘Arinfesesi’ Dramatizes A Day of Misfortune in A Gripping Tale Hindered by Shortcomings
The Nollywood film begins in a humble mud hut located in the suburbs of Ibadan. Inside, a pregnant woman grunts in pain while another woman, later revealed as Mabel (Bolaji Ogunmola), looks on with confusion. Both women seem to be fleeing from something, and Mabel attempts to assist in the childbirth while desperately trying to keep the pregnant woman from making any noise that could reveal their location. Tragically, the pregnant woman is shot and killed.
The story then takes us back in time, weeks before this incident, to present-day Lagos. A senator (Akin Lewis) celebrates his recent appointment to office when he receives a troubling call. It seems that news of diamonds discovered in the suburb of Ibadan has leaked to the press, jeopardizing his plan to exploit the villagers and rob them of their precious gems. In response, he contacts his trusted assassin, Korede (Babatunde Akinnayajo), instructing him to retrieve the diamonds from the village at any cost.
Meanwhile, we are introduced to the film’s main characters, Mabel and Femi, who have been longing for a child but have experienced multiple heartbreaking miscarriages. When Mabel finally becomes pregnant again, she decides to keep the news to herself until she is certain the baby will survive. The couple decides to take a road trip to a resort center in another state, hoping to escape the stress of their daily lives. Unfortunately, their decision sets in motion a chain of unfortunate events, fittingly reflecting the film’s ominous title.
Shot in Ibadan in a rural community, Ijaiye in Oyo State, Arinfesesi is a film that holds great promise with its intriguing storyline and potential to explore unique themes. However, it falls short in its execution, leaving much to be desired. One of the major shortcomings of the film lies in the casting of amateur actors, which hampers the delivery of the storyline. For example, a scene featuring the Senator’s daughters attempting to extort money lacked conviction and expertise, detracting from the overall impact.
Additionally, the character of Mabel and Femi’s housekeeper, intended to provide comic relief, failed to deliver any genuine humor.
The plot itself suffers from a lack of coherence and clarity. Scenes transition abruptly, leaving the viewer perplexed rather than engaged.
Moreover, the scriptwriting leaves much to be desired. The storyline lacks coherence, leaving viewers confused and hoping for clarity in subsequent scenes, only to be left even more puzzled. The film fails to address several crucial plot points, leaving unanswered questions and loopholes in the narrative. The motives behind the Senator’s decision to send Korede to wipe out an entire village, even though the diamonds had already left, remain unclear.
Furthermore, the attack on the village over the missing diamond, while the youngest child knew of the couple’s possession, fails to align logically. The lack of clarity surrounding the couple’s identity, their connection to the diamonds, and their fate further adds to the unresolved plot points.
Furthermore, the film struggles with inconsistencies in language usage. While incorporating Yoruba language, it is puzzling that Mabel, portrayed by Bolaji Ogunmola, is not given a Yoruba-speaking role while Femi, played by Shawn Faqua, struggles with his Yoruba lines despite being the character expected to speak the language fluently. Such inconsistencies in language usage disrupt the immersion and authenticity of the film.
Despite these shortcomings, Arinfesesi does have its strengths. The film successfully promotes cultural elements and indigenous languages, offering a glimpse into Yoruba culture and traditions. It holds potential for delivering valuable lessons and exploring deeper themes. The initial premise of a couple longing for a child and embarking on a trip that leads to a series of misfortunes is compelling and could have been a captivating narrative if executed more effectively.
Arinfesesi had the potential to be a compelling and culturally significant film. However, it fell short in its execution due to the amateurish performances, a disjointed script, and inconsistencies in language usage. While it offered valuable lessons and showcased aspects of Yoruba culture, the film failed to deliver a cohesive and satisfying narrative. With stronger acting, a more polished script, and better attention to detail, Arinfesesi could have realized its full potential, captivating audiences with its intriguing premise and cultural exploration.
Release Date: 12 May 2023
Runtime: 1 hours 35 minutes, 8 seconds
Director: Akinnayajo Babatunde
Cast: Akin Lewis, Bolaji Ogunmola, Jaiye Kuti, Khadijat Adeola Ayoade, Oyindamola Sanni, Shawn Faqua