Joy is a great short film to start your week.
Sometimes, get out of the box!
Which was exactly what I did with this movie and thankfully, I have no regrets. I received my monthly newsletter from AFROLANDTV and top on the list was this Short film by Nigerian ( not Nollywood) Director, Solomon Onita Jr. Although released in 2016 as his Masters degree project, there is a lot to appreciate from how beautifully this story is told. You can click this LINK to watch Joy.
Enjoy my review!
Short films are a marvel. Good short films of course. The ability of the filmmaker to deliver a punching subject matter through visual mediums is everything and more. It’s a lot of work but a spellbinding piece of art if properly delivered. Solomon Onita Jr.’s Joy is one of such.
Joy addresses a very sensitive subject matter- female genital mutilation. He craftily re-announces this subject matter through the character, Fimi ( Black Panther star, Sope Aluko ).
Fimi is a victim of FGM who defies her lord-like husband and stops him from mutilating their 10-year-old daughter.
The 15 minutes long motion picture opens to Fimi preparing breakfast for her family. The dialogue, facial expression, and body language between the couple also intimate the viewer(s) of the master/slave relationship between the couple living in America.
Gabriel ( Bayo Akinfemi) lords over his household. He is a loving father but an insensitive husband. Gabriel’s traditional instinct is reawakened when he listens in on his wife and daughter’s conversation about her crush. For Gabriel, this means it’s time for his 10-year-old to become a woman.
Fimi dreads her husband and Aluko delivers an astounding act while interpreting this character.
Fimi is strong-willed but hides it all beneath the cloak of subservience. However, she displays a surprising fierceness when she attacks her husband and rescues her daughter.
Using close up shots, the cinematographer captures Fimi’s facial expression which we must add tells the story even more than the dialogue.
In just one scene, the film brilliantly depicts the agony of FGM. The bathroom scene is perhaps the most powerful scene of Joy. Interestingly, there is no dialogue or monologue in this scene. It features just Fimi, her toilet and her pain.
The plot of Joy can not be sufficiently discussed without highlighting the use of flashback. It is near impossible to not notice the seamless transition between Fimi’s present and past. Using colors and more images, we follow the plot as Fimi’s innocence is ripped swiftly by her mother. Ironical?
If you are wondering how this beautiful story ends, don’t get too ecstatic as therein lies the BUT. Joy ends on an unsatisfactory note largely because the end was predictable.
Predictability is no crime but ending this movie with a less anticipated action or series of action would have earned it 10 stars!