Mo Abudu’s FIFTY Gets Thunderous Ovation At London Film Festival

…Movie to hit local cinemas on December 18

imageMovies are dreams on screen, the actualized fantasy of the eternal romantic, so argues the cynic stereotype. The latter earnestly contradicts what constitutes the essence of film; pitching wildly and quite methodically, the damning perspective against the nature of movies, disparagers of the art genre, regard it as a defective vehicle for numbing reality.
Nonetheless, the archetypal filmmaker seeks to awaken consciousness to a hidden layer amid the folds of reality in order to depict it or recapture its fast-fading resonance.

This is what Mo Abudu, EbonyLife TV boss, seeks to achieve by bankrolling FIFTY, a movie. FIFTY explores the fascinating lives of four female characters with salty humour and valour. Starring Iretiola Doyle, Dakore Egbuson-Akande, Omoni Oboli, and Nse Ikpe-Etim, the brand new movie from EbonyLife Films captures the lives of the women at the pinnacle of their careers.

Tola, Elizabeth, Maria and Kate are four friends forced, at midlife, to take stock of their personal lives, while juggling careers and family against the expansive and highly entertaining backdrop of the upper middle-class neighbourhoods of Ikoyi and Victoria Island in Lagos.
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They live and work in the resurgent, ever-bustling, 24-hour megacity of Lagos, the commercial capital of Africa’s biggest and most vibrant economy.
Tola is a reality TV star whose marriage to an attorney, Kunle, never stood a chance, thanks to an unpleasant family secret. Elizabeth is a distinguished obstetrician whose predilection for boy-toys alienates her from her daughter. Forty-nine year-old Maria however, has an affair with a married man that results in an unexpected pregnancy and Kate’s battle with a devastating ailment forces her into religious extremism.

Despite themselves, these four Nigerian women whose fascinating love lives are explored subscribe to the myth of a knight in shining armor and light at the end of the very dark tunnel. By the end of the film, these princely paragons glimmer as shining exceptions to every rule and every norm of societal correctness. They flirt with egotism, duplicity and uproariously depicted sexual ineptitude cum independence with varying degrees of forbearance, until they run out of patience. Then, with habitual soap opera-like candour, they set in motion the climax with flouncy, theatrical flourish.

Although FIFTY aspires to be more than a slick soap opera, underneath its feistiness it glistens with romantic fancies. Contributing to the heady atmosphere is a luscious soundtrack of folk ballads, rendered by King Sunny Ade, Femi Kuti, Nneka, Tiwa Savage and Waje who all make cameo appearances. Although the songs slip unobtrusively in and out of the background, they function subliminally as romantic chorale that lends the movie depth and a crimson romantic flush. That radiance complements the story’s phoenix locale, a posh suburban delight of rosy sunsets, large, pristine homes, offices among other sceneries.
The four leading ladies elicit awe by their flamboyant, flavorful performances. Doyle has shed the defensive hauteur that made her portrayal of a young wife in TV sitcom “Fuji House of Commotion” seem too laborious and unwieldy. Oboli imbues her character with blush and a sexy comic swivel, and Ikpe-Etim exudes smoldering heat that is tempered by Dakore’s ambitious poise.
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The movie is little more than a collection of vignettes strung around a candy-sweet theme and soundtracks. Fifty is no doubt, a sequence of star turns by four enchanting divas evoking dramatic fireworks from every discerning movie buff.

In a rare happenstance in the country’s film making history, the movie had a great outing at its screening at the 2015 London Film Festival in the ‘Love Category.’ While Biyi Bandele directs it, Mo Abudu, Executive Producer of Desperate Housewives Africa, the continent’s first drama format of the imported series, is also the Executive Producer of FIFTY. The movie will hit local cinemas on December 18, 2015.

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