Synposis: The king has just died, and as tradition demands, Elesin Oba, the King’s horseman, must perform ritual suicide, so that the king may gain unhindered passage into the land of the gods, and prevent calamity from befalling the community. However, Elesin Oba’s sexual appetites cause him to shirk in his duty, followed by a confrontation with the British, with devastating consequences.
Elesin Oba: The Cast
- Odunlade Adekola
- Shaffy Bello
- Ọlawale Ọlọfọrọ (Brymo)
- Deyemi Okanlawon
- Omowunmi Dada
- Jide Kosoko
- Kevin Ushi
- Jenny Stead
- Mark Elderkin
- Langley Kirkwood
- Taiwo Ajai-Lycett
- Joke Silva
Elesin Oba: The Crew
- Biyi Bandele – Director
- Biyi Bandele – Screen Adaptation
- Mo Abudu – Creative Producer / Executive Producer
- James Amuta – Producer
- Judith Audu – Producer / Senior Producer
- Adeola Osunkojo – Producer
- Quinty Pillay – Producer
- Heidi Uys – Creative Producer
Elesin Oba: The Review
With the uproar generated by this movie on social media, I knew I had to quickly see it so my review is not influenced by other people’s comments. I now have. Elesin Oba is an elaborate stage play, as far as I am concerned. It was not properly adapted to a movie. It may be in a bid to stay true to the original script, but it was left as a stage play.
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It is a well acted stage play in movie format. However, the white actors are too wooden; they almost have no expression that fits their scenes and conversations. The movie is full of lengthy monologues and dialogues; nobody talks like that in real life. Movies portray real life conversations, as opposed to how stage plays go on with lengthy conversations.
The cinematography is brilliant; we see such clear and beautiful pictures and good costumes. All of these notwithstanding, the movie could be better. In watching it, I just could not shake off the feeling of watching a stage play. The lighting, the way the actors are blocked to face the cameras, like they are ensuring they don’t back the audience, and how the actors project their voices, like the person at the back must be able to hear them. Stagecraft.
I have no problem with the dual language where one does not speak the other person’s language but somehow understands it. That is artistic license, and the movie maker is allowed such liberties.
The star of this production is Shaffy Bello. She carries the weight of the show. I am disappointed that Odunlade Adekola as Elesin makes no effort to speak an accented Yoruba that matches that of the Iyaloja. It provides a disconnect, as they are from the same town and speak markedly different accents. I cannot get over the atrocious beard given to Elesin; it is totally unnecessary. Also, is there anywhere in Yoruba land where women carry the body of a dead man? I don’t understand that particular part of the production.
It is difficult to translate a play into a movie, but others have done it successfully, even converting original screenplays into stage productions, but Elesin Oba appears to make no effort to truly adapt. It just gives us the original stage play, filmed on location.