The event is quiet as vivid and fresh in my mind just as newly tapped palm wine (yet to taste some though). I stood in front of the class as a social studies teacher the students looked up to. I quickly ascended into my element in my most authoritative voice, and attempted to vividly explain conflict resolution to the curious students.
This thought quickly struck my mind like thunder, i had been using Ghanaian examples throughout, historical examples! I quickly wondered whether the children would recollect the examples. So I asked; “who has watched the movie, Hotel Rwanda?”. The enthusiasm the students demonstrated as a response really scared me. They itched to speak. The same students who had, not long ago, acted as though they had not heard anything about conflicts became teachers.
I realized how useless the Ghanaian examples i had given had been. Had there been more Ghanaian historical movies, my work would have been easier. So i thought. I seek, in this piece, to point out some aspects of the Ghanaian movie industry I find uninspiring, and wish to make some suggestions as well.
I admit without any tint of shame of my inadequacy in terms of having the requisite training about anything pertaining to movies. But I quote the words of Dr. K. K. Sarpong; “If you know how to play, we know how to watch…” (said in twi). This statement was made by the then Kotoko C.E.O to point out the fact that he not being a coach does not prevent him from commenting about issues pertaining to football and coaching.
The theme of Ghanaian movies generally have a monotonous posture. Concepts such as withcraft, love and violence apparently appear to be the order of the day, everyday. Kids grow up listening to stories about Kweku Ananse (an infamous and cunning person) which teaches them a wide range of moral values. These same concepts are played out in different forms on daily basis.
I make comparison to “Olympus has fallen”, a foreign movie which highlights patriotism and tingles the consciousness of the American citizen as he watches it. Back in Ghana, “somewhere in Africa” starring Majid Michel is a great example to point out. I think it is necessary that movie producers shift the focus from their usual themes and vary things a bit.
Also, some of the movies sadly and without mince of words lack substance. I recollect one of such movies i watched (name withheld) with a younger brother. My brother asked me what the movie was about since he started watching midway. It then hit me like a bomb, I practically had no idea. It is worthwhile to note that Africans are known to possess impeccable story telling abilities. This must be demonstrated in our movies through well written stories.
The surprising thing about some local movies is the number of sequels that are made for them (i.e. part 1,2,3, to 9 sometimes). The movie producers seem to divide the story into 2 or more, with the hope of making more money I guess. This clearly shows how little creative the our writers can be. Once again the only example that comes to mind is a foreign movie – Harry Potter. The sequels to the first part are continuations that paradoxically tell a different story. Such is creativity. In Ghana, if u do not watch part 2, you will never know how the story ended. As for the run times of such movies, hmmmmm …its better I do not comment.
Moreover, anytime the Ghanaian movie attempts to create humour, it rather ends up insulting the intelligence of the viewer. Apparently, hurling wonderful insults seem to be the only means of creating humour. At least Mr.Bean has taught us that, you don’t even need to speak to create humour so I rest my case.
I strongly believe without an iota of doubt, the fact that the Ghanaian movie industry can be better, as it seems to be improving. There are reducing instances of telling the same story in diverse ways, using insults to create humour, difficulty in following a movie due to it being structured in a poor manner, among others are issues that the movie experts must be quick in addressing.
I think movies about historical figures and events can be an important path for movie producers to trek on more often. This is already being done by a few producers though. Is it not quite ironic that there is no movie about how the nation attained independence as well as movies about heroes like J.B.Danquah, Dr.Nkrumah and many others? This can be an excellent way of keeping our history, inculcating patriotism in citizens and teaching essential moral values that history offers. The time for change, unequivocally, is now.