Òlòtūré is a jolting reminder that everything in Nigeria is designed to kill you. It’s a perfect expression of the tragedy of being a victim in this country. If you have emotions, this project will make you feel deeply. You’ll connect with the actors, you’ll connect with the story and you’ll see from the eyes of the victim. However, if you get triggered by gore, violence and the reality of misogyny— Òlòtūré might not be for you.
Òlòtūré is an allusion to the controversial revelations made by Tobore Ovuorie and Premium Times in 2014. The original authors of the story would be proud of the artistic adaptation of their story. Curiously, this isn’t the first time Nollywood has drawn attention to the scourge of human trafficking in Nigeria. We saw this a lot in the 2000s with NAPTIP sponsoring several of these projects. However, Òlòtūré is a seedy exposé. It shows everybody is complicit— from the government to everyday people who see “sex work” as dishonourable.
Kenneth Gyang’s gift in this film is his astronomical attention to detail. This makes all the difference as everything else comes off with aplomb. It’s the catcalling when Ehi gets off the Danfo after running off at the club; it’s in how sex workers call even the ugliest of men “fine boy”; it’s in the oath taking scene and how surreal it was and several more like those that make this project impressive. Hats off for the set design and lighting. As important moments are predominantly nightlife scenes, the lightning was natural and fitting.
It is not surprising that Mo Abudu and EbonyLife TV backed this project. Not only because it’s a fantastic movie but it tells a compelling story, one that has been far too ignored. The story opens our eyes to the tragedy of victims in our society. Each case is usually defined by peculiar circumstances. In some, it’s fear from superstition and ingrained prejudices. In others, an overwhelming hunger not to “appear” a disappointment. For the majority of victims, there is simply too much at stake— oppressors make sure of this. However, all cases have one thing in common, our own humanity needs to prevail. It is what separates us from the oppressors.
In today’s world, Nigerians aid pimps based in Dubai, Italy and a large section of North Africa as they run these prostitution rings. They take victims for all they’re worth, strip them bare and make a ton of money. The victims end up carriers of deadly STDs, guinea pigs for experiments, bedridden and even worse, morph into oppressors.
Where Òlòtūré errs, it’s not in majoring in the minor. It’s not in overpopulating sets with cameo appearances. It never makes the mistakes of most Nollywood movies. It was created to tell an important story not to sell tickets on opening day. It however, errs in perpetuating clichés. Not all powerful women smoke cigarettes 24/7. Not all the tracks for the soundtracks should’ve made the cut. We’d have loved to hear proper club bangers from 2019 in club scenes and on the streets. But overall, this film did its job! Everyone should watch it.