For traditional Nigerian movies, Tchidi Chikere reigns supreme, in my book. Ini Edo, Mercy Johnson and Mike Ezuronye dazzle in this village tale, which is absolutely not generic. There are no obsessions with royal themes.
Ini Edo really shines as Azuka, who is grieving with her best friend, who lost her husband. Azuka goes out of her way, to comfort Buchi, even to the point of annoying her newfound husband. Azuka’s husband is Okereke, played by Mike Ezuronye.
Mike Ezuronye was an excellent choice, he had the ferocity to play the daring hunter. Okereke becomes a man caught, between two women. His character had to be strong, physically and mentally. Ironically, his greatest opponent is not one of the carnivore in forest, but flesh and blood from his own hut.
Ezuronye does not let up on Okereke’s charisma, which keeps the tale really engaging. For a man who wrestles leopards, it is disconcerting that it is women, he cannot tame. Okereke is blindsided by the women, of his life. Just when it looks like he has the upper hand, it turns out that he is the prey. And, Okereke fails to recognize that he is the one being hunted. Men are strong, but wisdom trumps strength.
Mercy Johnson really impressed me as Buchi. She is the wisest and most peaceful of the two friends. Just as Azuka proved willing to sacrifice for Buchi’s bereavement period, Buchi makes the ultimate sacrifice to rescue Azuka. There are unexpected external consequences, to the bond of gratitude and sisterhood, forged between Azuka and Buchi.
Technically, the film was sound for a rural setting. The locations were lush green and I loved the huts of the region. There were too many references to leopards and I began to wonder if they were found in that part of Nigeria, since there are still people who mistakenly think that lions live, in every geographic region of Africa.
The medicine woman was an excellent, managing numerous village dramas with poise and emotional distance. She was not an illiterate woman, mumbling prayers to the gods, but a strategist par excellence, defending the cause of her protégés.
Live to Remember is movie about the power of our every act of kindness, whether withheld or granted. Live to Remember is full of the vices and virtues of human nature. Sometimes it is not about being right; it is about being at peace.
Director: Tchidi Chikere
Stars: Ini Edo, Mercy Johnson, Mike Ezuronye