From a director and a scriptwriter, here is my honest review of why Anikulapo, the movie, might have missed the Nigerian Oscar selection committee’s selection. We are talking about the academy awards, and it is therefore important to note that I will hold them to the highest standard possible.
The film’s sound was audible. But apart from audibility, that’s just it. In capturing the sound of a film, there is something called capturing the mood of the set. This includes the sound of a slight breeze, light conversation in the background, and the like of it. A film’s sound is not recorded like a podcast. It is important for the audience to hear what the cast is talking about, but this should not overshadow all the other nitty gritty. The sound of a door opening and closing, approaching footsteps, leaves crunching under the foot, and characters’ characteristics and behaviours, for example, the rhythmic tapping of fingers when anxious.
Long, Slow Script
In Anikulapo, some scenes are unnecessary and too prolonged. A filmmaker’s main objective is to capture the attention of the audience. When a scene is too long, the audience already knows what is expected to happen. This, therefore, reduces the suspense and the thrill. An example of such a scene is when the young queen needed a mirror that one of her co-wives had borrowed.
Show, not tell
One important rule in filmmaking is “show, not tell.” A perfect example is in Peaky Blinders, when Grace takes Tommy back to her apartment for the first time. The sexual tension between them is evident without them having to voice it out loud. In Anikulapo, however, everything is spoon-fed to the audience, especially the scene where Saru and his lover are in bed. It is obvious that they want to make love, but Saru’s lover has to tell him to make love to her.
A filmmaker friend of mine says dialogue is king, and I couldn’t agree with him more. Dialogue should not be flat and straightforward. Good dialogue keeps the audience glued. It greatly determines a film’s greatness and is one of the most important aspects of filmmaking. Quentin Tarantino is an example of a filmmaker who has nailed the art of dialogue in film; we can learn a lot from him.