The #BringBackOurGirls Movement is arguably the biggest campaign in Nigeria in the past four years. Support for the rescue of the Chibok Girls who were kidnapped in 2014 has traveled from the streets of Nigeria, to the corridors of the White House. Like everything else which moved nations so deeply, it deserves that its story should be told.
The short film ‘Sambisa’ by Uche Aguh tries to capture this story, and even though we’ve only seen the trailer, we can already tell this is going to be as abysmal as it is unoriginal.
We have two theories regarding this short film; it’s either a parody, or a proper short film. If it’s a parody, it’s insensitive and offensive. But if it intends to be a serious body of work, it is not only insensitive and offensive, it is like poison that will kill off every butterfly in your belly.
We will take this trailer apart, frame by frame.
The first scene shows three girls, clearly the Chibok girls making a run for it. IN LEGGINGS AND SNEAKERS. One even has a satchel that is pristine white.
Every news report, which is a Google search away, talks about the terrible conditions the girls are living in, mostly malnourished. Several reports have seen even Boko Haram fighters attack towns just to steal food. Things are hard even in Sambisa. Somehow, this escaping girls are fresh to the bone.
Let’s just ignore the fact that a Nigerian girl, raised by a Nigerian woman, thought it wise to carry a baby in her arms when it is much easier and convenient to secure the baby on her back.
Details matter, especially about something this delicate. Like calling terrorists who have killed thousands of innocent Nigerians ‘Soldiers’. The Boko Harm militants are NOT soldiers. Especially in a country that has had decades of military rule.
This film will be the first perspective many westerners will get of Boko Haram, and because the film makers didn’t do their research it will be the wrong one.
We move to this place.
We got really confused here. Sambisa is in Northeastern Nigeria, and our Boko Haram fighter here is speaking with an accent that is almost four thousand kilometres away from originality. How in God’s spherical earth did a Sierra Leonean end up in Sambisa Forest?
Plus, why does our in this scene remind us so much of Idris Elba’s performance in Beasts of No Nation? Muzzbe coincidence.
Then there is this.
Why would you go to great lengths to write a baby into your film and then not bother to use an actual child or at least a life-like doll. No baby would survive being swaddled in the heat of a forest after being tossed around for hours as the mother ran. Not to mention the ‘baby’ is almost bent in half. Why?
Anyway, in the last part, the girls who were only just trying to escape are screaming “bring back our girls!” “bring back our girls!” And then it has one wondering, what girls are they bringing back when they appear to be girls escaping?
What is going on? Which girls are they screaming for? Were the girls following the hashtag inside forest too? We are really curious to find out exactly what was going on there, but nah, we’ll pass.
Remember that time someone tried to cook us food. The person had good intentions and all that, but the food was horrible and it gave you stomach pain.
This is a perfect example. If this is the first film narrative about the Chibok girls that Uche Aguh wants us to present to the world, we’d rather not have any film at all.
When you set out to tell stories about issues as important as this, even Google will definitely give enough research material to create something better.
When this film comes out, for our sanity, we go give am unlooking.