Iyore (The Return)
Rita Dominic, Joseph Benjamin, Okawa Shaznay, Paul Obazele, Yemi Blaq and Bukky Wright
When School Teacher Osarugwe (Rita Dominic) begins to teach her class about the historical tales and conquests of the Benin Empire, she opens up the door to a love story surrounding one of the three sacred virgins of the great Benin, Amenze (Okawa Shaznay) and Edosa (Desmond Walter)... [cont.]
Frank Rajah Arase
Frank Rajah Arase
Frank Rajah Arase
"She was put in the prison for days with no food and water. On the seventh day she disappeared"
Poor acting from supporting actors
Many times I’ve dreamt of having the soundtrack to my life playing in the background wherever I go. After watching this movie, I am forced to reconsider that dream. This movie is set in ancient Bini kingdom where the Oba is all presiding and his burial is accompanied by the sacrifice of three young virgins. It is a kingdom where going against the Oba will result in your head on a stake. So I wonder, with all this head chopping going on, why didn’t anyone think to chop of the head of this annoying and unending song chanter?
Iyore (The Return) is really a love story in disguise as a historical period piece. It is the story of two lovers who cannot be together for varying reasons at varying times. Of course, the fact that this love story has happened time and time again in history is not revealed until the end of the movie (so…that might have been a spoiler depending on how you view it).
In current day, the lovers are played by Rita Dominic and Joseph Benjamin. Even though Rita does a great job as Osarugwe and Joseph holds his own for the most part in this movie, the real performance treasure in this movie was Paul Obazele who plays the father to Joseph’s character and also the Oba. In the one scene where his son tells him why he cannot do as he (the king) would like, you see actual emotions pass through Paul’s face over and over again. That one scene might have been the only time that characters were able to emote sans the melodrama.
Speaking of melodrama, we cannot forget Okawa Shaznay who has multiple characters in this movie. She does well and it is great to see her growth as an actor from film to film, but there was just too much ‘melodrama’ involved in every performance she gave to take her seriously.
The story behind this movie is beautiful and it builds from scene to scene and time to time without ever creating that confusion of “ok, so whose story is this now? What era are we in now? Is this past or present?“. However, it is only in the last 9 minutes (literally! I was checking) that all the ends are tied back together. The movie is able to maintain a certain degree of unpredictability till the final moments and this is probably its greatest charm.
The sets, the costumes, the music and the entire air of the Bini kingdom is aptly recreated in this film from the perspective of an uninformed audience. However, there are arguments that the Bini names are not pronounced correctly by most of the cast members on screen. Speaking of these other cast members, it is fair to say that the only people bringing any degree of ‘acting’ to this film were the listed actors and even some of them were not consistently good. Therefore, this movie did lack some in performances but made up for it in spectacle.
When School Teacher Osarugwe (Rita Dominic) begins to teach her class about the historical tales and conquests of the Benin Empire, she opens up the door to a love story surrounding one of the three sacred virgins of the great Benin, Amenze (Okawa Shaznay) and Edosa (Desmond Walter). Amenze, a virgin maiden whose fate is to be buried alive with the King once he has died is holding a secret that could destroy her and the sacred traditions of the Kingdom forever.
In order to avoid the mortification, she escapes the Kingdom along with her lover Edosa. Their escape causes an uproar, which leads to a series of battles between kingdoms and kings. As the story evolves, Osarugwe herself is going through her own personal battles when her childhood love Prince Azuwa (Joseph Benjamin) resurfaces to profess his undying love for her.
Confused due to the fact that she is now a married woman, Osarugwe is caught up in an inner battle of what is right and wrong. Osarugwe’s story is so vividly reminiscent of the story she tells her students in school, that the idea of reincarnation becomes so prevalent. They say the soul of man is immortal, and will be refreshed again in another life. This magical tale is sure to bring out the scents and sites of old time Benin whilst exploring the beauty of forbidden love and the idea of reincarnations