Black November and Its Leading Lady

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I finally got around to watching the highly publicized “Black November”. The movie which was produced and directed by Jeta Amata deserves all the attention it is getting locally and internationally. Jeta has always been one to raise the bar in Nollywood and African cinema.

If you recall, in 2006, Jeta collaborated with Nick Moran and Alicia Arce to write, produce and direct  – “The Amazing Grace” – a British- Nigerian historical drama film.  The film received 11 nominations and won the award for Achievement in Cinematography at the Africa Movie Academy Awards in 2007. So it comes as no surprise that his latest work – Black November is enjoying commendation from various quarters.

Despite the huge success of the movie; I could not help but state my dissatisfaction at Mbong’s performance as the lead female character – Ebiere. To be honest, I have never been impressed by any of her movies, but for some reason I felt she would nail this one.

Mbong-Amata-360x477mbong-red-shoe

 Her character – Ebiere was one which was supposed to elicit empathy, raw emotions and deep courage.  What worked most to her advantage was her face which is not only pretty but soft and accompanied with “puppy eyes”…( in the niger-delta, we call it “sorry-water face”). Unfortunately, her face wasn’t all that was needed to deliver an outstanding performance. At certain points in the movie, I’d expected her to really weep or display the kind of emotions that the role required; that didn’t happen. I also thought she fell short of the Niger-Delta Lingua that people from that region are accustomed to.

In my opinion, I think she struggled with the role and if I was the casting director… maybe I would have considered Ivie Okunjaiye as a suitable replacement for Ebiere.

In all, it was a good movie, but Mbong’s lackluster performance may just have cost her an AMVCA 2016 award for best Actress in Drama.

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