Ramsey Noah Jnr’s Living In Bondage: Breaking Free – An Update On Nollywood’s Production Design. By ogochukwu umeadi

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Let me tell you a story.

I was opportuned to be on this set a long, long time ago. It was a roll call of who-is-who in the industry.

We were on a lunch break one day, eating and exchanging banter as we do so. Until the subject of the discussion drifted to Bong Joon Ho’s Parasite (2019) and how good a film it is viz a viz our Nollywood films.

Apparently, one of the above-the-line crew members, was listening to us talk and before you say Jack Robinson, he told us to “stop talking about films and make ours.”

Granted. That is the dream of every filmmaker.

However, it shouldn’t stop us from talking about great films and films that suck.

There is one thing we have to stop doing in this industry of ours, Nollywood, if we want to grow.

And believe you me, if we stop it, we will be better for it.

What is this very thing?
It’s the habit of not criticizing our films or being overly too sensitive when it’s criticized.



We are damn too sensitive in this industry of ours.

The moment one of us puts out a film and it’s criticized for good or for ill, we take it as a judgement on our person.

But, this shouldn’t be so.
Filmmaking shouldn’t be this way.

There should be room for criticism, for takes, for improvement.

Hell, if you don’t know what is wrong or right with your film, how will you take correction on what is wrong and improve on what is right the next time you go out in the field to film?

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That said, criticism, contructive criticism, is right for us, for our industry if we truly want to grow.

Someone somewhere might say what gives you the right to criticize the industry when you haven’t made a film.

Maybe, I haven’t made the one (you know of), but, I have designed countless – shorts, features and series and this gives me a certain legitimacy or locus standi if I may say so.

Now to my subject matter, Living In Bondage: Breaking Free, when I heard Ramsey Noah Jnr’s directed this film, first, I was apprehensive.

The Ramsey Noah Jnr we all know is more at home with romance or so we have been led to believe.

His works in that genre is usually what is playing in our heads when we, gentlemen, want to woo some damsel that has caught our eyes and he is pretty good at it too.

So, hearing him associated with Living In Bondage: Breaking Free, was a little cause for concern. This is not a genre we know him for.

But, watching the film actually put my mind at ease.

Here is a director at home with his subject matter, cool, measured, temperate. I like this director.

And the Sinister Ramsey Noah Jnr’s character in the film is actually more deep than Romantic one we have all come to know and expect. Believe you me.



But, then, this piece is not to praise the acting prowess of Ramsey Noah Jnr. It is to give my take on the film.

Living In Bondage: Breaking Free is good film with a good story, great acting, “awemazing” Production Design, awesome cinematography, cool sound and wonderful editing.

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I’d have loved to say a great story but what I saw in Living In Bondage: Breaking Free is a good story that should have been better, great even, despite all the accolades and awards so far.

The story started out strong, struggled in the middle and wobbled at the end.

The first act was great, the second act was manageable but the third act seemed rushed.

It was as if the writers where in a hurry to end it. There was no rhythm to the pace and tempo of the story.

Besides that, some key plot points didn’t follow a cause-and-effect principle.

Things that should have added suspense, intrigue and apprehension to the story were just revealed like that without fanfare.

The dialogues too that would have added a great number of “quotable quotes” to our dying art of conversation were just there.



Though, some of the actors propped it up with memorable performances but, it should have been better.

All in all, the story should have benefitted from more drafts and polishing to be the best story it can be.

The acting has a number of high-fliers like Jidekene Achufusi, Munachi Abii, Enyinnaya Nwigwe, the amazing Ebele Okaro Onyiuke, whose Igbo rendition is worth dancing to and the man of the moment, Ramsey Noah Jnr, himself.

Now to the Production Design, this is where the film stands out as a masterpiece.

The whole visualization was uncommon and worth commending.

As a child, I grew up watching films on the subject of rituals in Nigeria and once someone is touted as a ritualist, I expect to see a room always under lock and key in their residence; and in their room, a half-living, half-dead victim of the ritual, who vomits different currency notes.
It’s not just me, I’m sure you do too.

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We know this things. We have seen them in our films before.

At least, that’s what Nollywood 1.0 showed us and we believed it, hook, line and sinker.

Thanks to Living In Bondage: Breaking Free, Nollywood 2.0, our visualization of it has now changed.

I hope the design team got accolades and awards for this, because, they richly deserve it.



On the subject of cinematography, the film is also outstanding.

It has a number of great shots, a plethora of creative lighting and great storytelling in pictures too, helped by an amazing design.

The sound too is not bad but, the use of music in it should have been better.

Do I need to talk of the great editing as well as the Visual Effects?

Or the magical transitions and all what not?

In all, Living In Bondage: Breaking Free is a good film that should have been great and this is because of the story.

However, we may well have to watch out for Director Ramsey Noah Jnr, he’s shown that there are many sides to him.

#by ogochuchu umaidi
https://www.facebook.com/ogochukwu.umeadi


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