Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Perfect Church: How Perfect?

I do not watch movies very often and so it was a bit strange that after my best friend and I had walked the length and breadth of the Palms shopping mall, and treated ourselves to plates of steaming Nandos rice and chicken, our minds would race at the anticipation of watching a good flick at the Genesis Deluxe cinemas.
Tottering under the weight of extra large popcorn  and soda which I really should stop drinking, we went up to the ticketing counter.
The choice was between the Perfect Church and the Tourist; and after minutes of deliberating on the need to encourage Nollywood and its new marriage with cinema houses, we exchanged our precious one thousand five hundred naira for tickets for the Perfect Church.
The Perfect Church is a story about a group of people whose lives are interwoven in certain ways. There is Ramsey Nouah who is the pastor of a large, successful church, Funmi Akindele (Jenifa) who is a lead chorister in the church but who also sleeps with Senators and big men, Ngozi Ezeonu and Hakeem Rahman;  a couple in the church who are potrayed as perfect but have skeletons in their cupboards, Yinka Olukunga ; a church member who is attracted to the Pastor and wants to marry him and Olu Jacobs, a bishop in the region who brings a message of mercy and deliverance to the church.
The movie starts off with a scene of a singing session in the church led by Funmi Akindele. During this scene, it is pretty obvious that she is miming the song and it doesn’t really seem natural.
The producers thereafter go on to introduce the going ons in the characters' lives.
Funke Akindele is shown in a hotel room with her senator lover; Yinka Olukunga is shown 'toasting' the Pastor; Hakeem Rahman is shown insulting his wife at home while the woman, Ngozi Ezeonu flashes back to her past and it is shown that she was formerly married to Norbert Young and that they had children together. Norbert had been indiscrete and abandoned her and that’s why she ended up with Rahman. So..AHA!! she wasn’t  really married Rahman and was just a live in lover with children for him.
The Perfect Church explores the themes of the pseudo spirituality that goes on in the lives of many people, the sexual identity struggle as evidenced by the internal musings Ramsey, the Pastor keeps having about his homosexuality, the struggles families face when exposed to infidelity and the holier than thou attitude church goers have that makes them too quick to cast the first stone at sinners.
Throughout some of the scenes in the movie, the poor picture and sound quality are apparent especially in the choir singing scenes where the solo singers always sound like they are screeching.
The movie progresses when the Bishop, Olu Jacobs comes to visit and brings the church the message of deliverance and maercy and after many things have happened to these people  along the course of their lives , they eventually realize that they are not perfect after all.
First of all, I believe Ebi Akpeti, the writer of the story may have done a good job with the narration of her story; the drama, conflict and the resolution were all apparent from the film, but I’m afraid Wale Adenuga Productions did not do a poor job of adapting it to film.
The picture quality was dismal to say the least; Funmi Akindele, the choir leader in this movie acted in a red blouse for some of the scenes, and the poor camera used distorted the color such that it became a blurry cross between tomato red and Tasty Time red.
The use of unnecessary flashbacks often proceeded by a deafening piano key thump just about drove me crazy. As a fiction writer, we are told to avoid the unnecessary use of flash backs and to rather work at incorporating the back story into the ongoing action to prevent a dissipation of built up action.
The Perfect Church defied all such admonitions and instead went on to flash back to almost everything that happened in the past to Ngozi Ezeonu's past and her former marriage to Norbert Young, Akeem Rahman and his former marriage which he hid from his new wife Ngozi.
Yet another problem with this movie is its cursory treatment of such important themes like homosexuality and the grace and forgiveness of God. I do understand that the producer thinks homosexuality is a sin, therefore the need to show Ramsey Nouah commiting suicide after having been found out, but I don’t think that the scene could have affected anybody who is a homosexual except to cause a further hardening of the heart.  

Some highlights of the film may be the stellar acting of the actors especially Olu Jacobs, Funmi Akindele and Ramsey; the dialogue also was quite good and real. Hakeem Rahman’s first wife introduced some Yoruba adage in a scene when she was cursing him and this added to the local flavor of the movie.
When I brought out my palm top halfway through the movie and proceeded to chat on Facebook, I decided then that something must either be terribly wrong with a girl who refuses to milk her one thousand five hundred naira dry or something was fundamentally wrong with ‘The Perfect Church’.
There was a chance to make a real, intelligent impact here, but I’m afraid the producers failed. I would only recommend this film to others so that they can confirm if I am exaggerating my cynicism or just telling the bitter truth.


  1. Nollywood is important,because it creates jobs and gives us the opportunity to tell Africa's story,from an Africa's perspectives.And so it deserves our support,for it's potential.

    As for me,i watch the movies featuring motor-mouths like Osuofia,Mr Ibu,e.t.c,because the script is just an excuse,for these guys to show their comical-talents.I steer clear of the big-theme movies,because the production never matches the ambition.

  2. I'm surprised that WAP did not do a better job of interpreting this movie. I enjoyed Super Story and thought he would be better than the crop in Nollywood. I saw Champions of our time in the Nigerian cinema and was quite disappointed. Inale and Anchor baby did better.

  3. i think the problem is nigerian producers just dont put their 100% towards movie production. I'm jst tired of them jor.. u'll think the movies would be better now that they've started making use of cinema.. mschew!

  4. Totally agree with Kitkat

    There is no business that grows without real investment - time, money, resources ...

    Unfortunately, most of our producers choose to use sub-standard equipment to record poor acting of weak story lines....

  5. @Henry..You are quite right… We haven’t quite learnt how to interprete big themes and bring our own unique flavor into it. You do know the problem is as simple or as complex as a lack of proper education and training!

    @Myne..thanks for stopping by..I do appreciate it. WAP is good in soaps and drams, not yet for film..He should have gotten properly trained. Now, I think that’s the problem. Nobody thinks they should be trained for anything. People train to be barbers you know…!

  6. @Kitkat..U are right! If you are a film producer, you need to be trained..No, I take that back,..You need to be trained to be a film producer! :D

    @Naijamum…I believe those equipment are available for sale abroad. Why don’t they just get it?! Maybe, it’s expensive, but what can you do?! That is what it takes to produce a ‘movie’.. You have to give it what it takes.. I was just soooooooo pissed!!

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  8. errm... i'ld rather watch Jackie Chan falling off a moving truck in the making of Rush Hour Trilogy than a nollywood 'movie of the year'.
    My two shillings!

  9. I think it is sad that Nollywood is still lagging behind so much. The Nigerian music industry is doing so well in contrast.

    Sorry about your 1,500.

  10. lol @P.E.T...i feel you sistah...i hardly watch Nollywood films...except out of curiosity when i hear so much 'noise' about it. To tell the truth, this is my first time of hearing the name of this movie, & upon the star-studded cast, they still messed up! The red blouse that was blurry clearly shows a poor production & is always painful to your eyes...i just wonder when they would learn..when a child that is 2years old is still crawling, then there is cause for alarm & concern by his/her parents...for how long can nollywood be crawling on fours! I was still in secondary school when i watched living in bondage that was the first nollywood film i watched which created a way for so many others..we are talking about 2 decades ago! yet! we can't take minute details into consideration!

    Our actors/actress should be prepared for a role..like Akindele miming along is not proper! What would it take from her to learn the song & sing along but a voice-over would be used, hence giving the impression she is singing just as indians do?

    The continuous falshback is very annoying becox they don't seem to get it right! like going back to the 70's, there are some features one is expected to see to depict that year. I was surprised to see a phone booth in a flash back when it was not yet in vogue!

    M-e-hn! i had talked so much...pardon me, it's a topic i ma passionate about becox i like films..bollywood & hollywood are my favs, & i want nollywood to get there by paying attention to minute details which speaks volumes!

    Nevertheless, it's a good story, which exposes the 'nonsense' going on in churches...i had lost faith in the church but not in GOD.


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