In spite of the fact that Nigeria continues to produce literary giants whose works make waves both locally and internationally, only a handful of these literary masterpieces have been optioned for the screen, which is why the movie adaptation of Walking with Shadows is impressive.
A former male lover exposes Adrian Njoko (Ozzy Agu) to Ada (Zainab Balogun), Adrian’s wife, and the mother of the couple’s daughter. What will Adrian do, given that other family members and associates have all become aware of his secret?
The storytelling and execution of Walking with Shadows are understated. Most of the actors are convincing in the portrayal of their different roles, though Wale Ojo’s very minor role did not enhance the screenplay and film in any way.
The scene where the women discuss their experiences reveals that there really may be people who are willing to trade matters as significant as sexuality for other considerations.
Be that as it may, full disclosure is indispensable in relationships. No one deserves to go into a relationship with reasonable and acceptable expectations, only to be let down by the discovery that they have been taken in. Just like Ada told Adrian, the decision, whether or not to marry him, owing to the realities on ground, were hers. Therefore, deception, for any reason whatsoever, is unseemly.
The Igbo spoken by Adrian’s mother (Funlola Aofiyebi-Raimi) diminishes verisimilitude. Sometimes, even Adrian’s command of the Igbo Language is poor, reinforcing the need for dialogue coaches on the sets of films and TV productions. It is no different from those foreign films where someone is cast to speak English with a Nigerian accent, but ends up inventing their own variant of the English Language.
Kudos to renowned filmmaker, Tunde Kelani, who championed adaptation in the Nigerian film industry. Perhaps, more than a half of his movies, which include the works of Akinwunmi Ishola, Wole Soyinka and Femi Osofisan, are adaptations.
And now, one of Nigeria’s distinguished show hosts, Funmi Iyanda, of New Dawn fame, and her company, Oya Media, have followed in Kelani’s footsteps by adapting Jude Dibia’s book, Walking with Shadows (2005).
Like the Academy Awards, the African Movie Academy Awards (AMMA) and other award bodies in Nollywood ought to divide the screenplay category in their awards into two: original and adapted. That will probably encourage more producers to option other outstanding books.
Walking with Shadows elicits empathy in many a viewer, though its thematic focus is a complex matter. Brilliant.