PRODUCER: NICHOLAS K. LORY
DIRECTOR: NANA OBIRI YEBOAH
STARRING: ORIS ERHUERO, JIMMY-JEAN LOUIS, AMA K- ABEBRESE, FRED AMUGI AND DAVID DONTOH
The cursed one is a film about a young girl (Asabi) blamed for the misfortune of the people in her community. One misfortune after the other causes the people in her community to point accusing fingers on her. They accuse her of witchcraft and the pastor in the community backs this claim up by saying the town will never be free, until Asabi is killed. He manages to turn mother against child.
In this film the issue of witchcraft is tastefully handled and the young girl accused of the witchcraft Asabi (Ophelia Dzidzornu) gives a powerful performance. The pastor played by Fred Amugi gives us the performance of a typical, money-hungry pastor. Hungry for fame and validation and then puts himself in the position of manipulating families and tearing them apart. He turns mother against daughter and the people in his church abide by his words blindly, they live by his proclamation and his standards and they give him the validation he craves for. Doesn’t that sound familiar?
That is the reality in our society. Many pastors behave like that, don’t they? Our society breeds a lot of gullible people that will enrich the pastor, while they live in poverty. The pastor becomes a demi-god; his words become the rule of life and not the words in the bible. There are pastors that twist the word to flow with their own needs. On our part, when things go wrong, we search for the spiritual, we don’t believe that misfortune can come to us except if there is some spiritual backing to our misfortune. We crave for the prayers that pastors will offer us and we forget our own ability to pray. We have pastors making millions out of the pockets of the poor congregation, they live lavishly and they cannot even contribute to the treatment of the sick person in their church and for the first time in a long time I see an African film (Ghanaian) film capture all of this with such intense depth that there is to capture. This is our story, it happens so many times and, severally it has been ignored and we see all these characteristics of the fake men of God captured in The Cursed Ones.
While we may have a problem with the congregation in the church in The Cursed Ones, sometimes acting as if they are possessed, especially when the pastor is praying, for example, the rolling of the eye and the uncomfortable gesture, it almost sends the wrong message but it is a plot to advance the story, even though quite confusing in some instances, it works perfectly in other scenes.
Oris Erhuero plays Godwin, a reporter that saves Asabi from the attempted exorcism and the death sentence, with the help of a school teacher (Joseph Otisman). He is able to do this only through his own intelligence and through the exposure he has acquired in the world. That is how he knows that the community is wrong, that the problem of the community is not the girl but the society. Oris makes a return after his impressive turn in Road to Yesterday with Genevieve Nnaji last year and in this role he embodies the character of an intruder, an outsider that tries to interfere with the people’s decision to kill an innocent young girl.
This film features Ghanaian actors and some international actors and all of them give a vibrant performance. Ama K Abrese is the mother of Asabi in The Cursed Ones and she gives a commendable performance, recently, she has been taking the mother roles. It seems to be something she is comfortable with. The Cursed Ones is a winner in both acting and in the story line.
Cinematography is crisp and beautiful; set in a local Ghanaian area, the cinematographer does a beautiful job of capturing the town with all its features. Sound is smooth and great in this film. Generally, it has all the elements of a fantastic film- Great story, great acting, great cinematography and fantastic sound.
I will advise, you have to see this film, it will make you cry, make you laugh but the best part is that you will see the aspects of our lives that has been ignored by filmmakers and even when they choose to feature it, they make a mockery of it- witchcraft is the point of focus here. Are there truly witches in Africa? Is it just our imagination? Accusing children of witchcraft is a form of domestic abuse on its own. Where I have lived all my life, I have seen young people accused of witchcraft, day in, day out and so there was a strong connection to this story.