Patience Ozokwor, Segun Arinze, Victor Olaitan, Nicole Ndigwe, Efe Irele, Funmi Eko Ezeh, Shawn Faqua
A Northern Nigerian teenager is placed in an Internally Displaced People's Camp follwing the brutal death of her parents during a village attack. Here she is forced to go into survival mode to overcome the overwhelming obstacles that he faces.
Emem Isong Misodi
Zahra is a beautiful effort by Royal Arts Academy to expose a relatively lesser known aspect of life for many people in certain parts of Nigeria.
The story of ‘Zahra’ follows her life in an internally displaced people’s camp in Northern Nigeria after the death of her parents. During her time there she meets different women from different works of life with different stories. In her own words, ‘the stories are as numerous as the faces in the camp’ but they all have the pain in common.
As her story progresses, we learn about the cruelties of the camp: the theft, the rape, the child trading and everything in between. We watch characters die, characters thrive and characters give up until the men and women decide to do something to change their fate.
Upon introduction to the actress who plays Zahra, it’s obvious that she is not necessarily the strongest of actors because her lines seem like a recital initially but this eventually fades to the background as your other senses are overwhelmed upon seeing the plight of these girls.
The best thing about this movie is definitely the atmosphere and ambience that’s created. From the setting, the lighting, the costume, the cinematography, the props and the music – it’s all believable and you’re transported into a different space and into the lives of this women.
The movie is not 100% greatness though and it does fall short in parts. There is that one usual Nigerian movie scene where there is some sort of news broadcast but the video clip is not actually playing on the TV, instead it was edited to fit on the TV screen size in post-production. In this one, the video that’s “pasted” on the senator’s TV is not done well because when the senator moves his hand into the frame with the screen, his hand disappears behind the video clip.
Even though at the end you are impressed with the storyline and grateful that the angle involved these women standing up for themselves and taking up their own battle, you still feel like it falls short of greatness. The emotional appeal is not as strong as it could have been but I had a tough time figuring out why this is.