Among the AMVCA 2020 Nominations for the short film category is Tolu Ajayi’s Oga John. It is emotionally riveting and life changing. Nollywood Insider Here’s a quick review.
This AMVCA 2020 Nomination is a Partnership with Mentally Aware Nigeria Initiative (MANI)
Oga John offers a simple story. It records the moment Alero (Ade Laoye), a young, depressed woman, tries to end her life by ingesting rat poison but is saved by Oga John, the shop owner and MANI Volunteer who slips a MANI contact card which she finds at the last minute, struggles and eventually calls for help.
The first few seconds of the 10minute film is a bit draggy. It opens with Oga John, on his feet listening to a football radio broadcast behind his counter. A Lady (Joy Njoku) comes to pay for the items she has bought and they haggle about how expensive the items are. Their conversation is draggy, unnatural and unnecessary. In my personal opinion, it would have made a great silent film. The dialogue could have been thrown out completely while we see the depth in the expressions and the richness of Ade Laoye and Joseph Imoikor’s acting.
The place Alero chooses for her suicide is seems too open for an attempt. But who am we to say so? She is sitting in her car, parked by the road. On her phone are several texts from her mother and a voice note pleading for her to pick her call. She ignores the messages, and chooses social media instead. We quickly see her twitter profile with zero followers. Nonetheless she tweets ‘I’m so sorry… I have to go’ She raises the poison to her lips, about to take it, she finds the contact card just in time.
The next few seconds are chilling.
Alero has dialled the number but is too broken to speak. Finally, the person on the other end of the line says – ‘whoever is on the line… please talk to me’ This riles her further and Alero bursts out ‘I’m tired… I’m so tired’
Beneath the already deep exterior are deeper messages. It just gives you Goosebumps. In all, it is an amazingly beautiful film and worth the AMVCA 2020 Nomination.