Oris Aigbokhaevbolo: “God Calling” is Gospel Kitsch

Oris Aigbokhaevbolo: “God Calling” is Gospel Kitsch

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Oris Aigbokhaevbolo: “God Calling” is Gospel Kitsch
Minutes into the new BB Sasore film “God Calling,” one thing becomes clear: the film’s computer-generated images are its star. Besides the devotion to Christianity, it is what the crew takes the most care about. The trailer showcases a remarkable scene of a suicide on the 3rd Mainland Bridge that is better than anything else in […]
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Minutes into the new BB Sasore film “God Calling,” one thing becomes clear: the film’s computer-generated images are its star. Besides the devotion to Christianity, it is what the crew takes the most care about.

The trailer showcases a remarkable scene of a suicide on the 3rd Mainland Bridge that is better than anything else in the film, and there is a decent conflagration through a high window. A shot apparently made underwater is just as good. Unfortunately, there is a garish depiction of heaven later, but that is a rare low for the film’s very good VFX crew.

But let’s talk about God Calling’s fidelity to the Christian God. This is a film that wants to tell us that God has a plan for every life. Now, while that is a sentiment I appreciate, I just wish I didn’t have to stomach kitsch to get a lesson everyone was taught in Sunday school.

Sasore’s previous film, Banana Island Ghost, was concerned with an afterlife spent on earth. God Calling is concerned with the aftermath of a death. The first provided grounds for comedy; the latter is primed for some heavy lifting in terms of the drama of tragedy. A young couple loses its only child and spirals into sadness in the way movie people do: the husband (Karibi Fubara) seeks succor in the arm of a female colleague; the wife, Sade (Zainab Balogun), unravels into a depression. To complicate matters, Sade is a recovering drug addict unable to bear another child. That is a great set-up for some psychological probing, but the story that follows is neither intensive nor extensive.

A subplot concerns the husband who has never gone back to visit his parents since marrying into a rich family. That is a source of resentment for his father (Nkem Owoh, who alongside Onyeka Onwenu, who plays his wife, is the film’s best actor, but has too few scenes). This subplot, which could comment on Nigerian class, privilege, and urbanization, holds a dramatic potential far more intriguing than the film we are served, but it is never given the seriousness of the film’s gospel plot. And it would be great if that main plot was treated with some kind of reverential artistry, but given the laughs in the hall I saw the film, and my own eye-rolling, I was reminded of Apostle Paul telling a church in Romans 2:24: “For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you…

Fact is: Many believers working in Nigeria’s creative spaces think they have no obligation to artistry, that because the concept is belief they have no need for believability or elegance. This is especially true for gospel music makers. But in a world where religion is under attack fairly regularly, believing artists have to take both God and art seriously—at least if they want to ply their trade in the secular marketplace. The faith-based genre has some potential in a country like Nigeria, but might it be better to show these films in our many churches, if creative liberties are going to be taken at such a scale?

That is not a criticism that God Calling wholly deserves, but each time Sade’s phone rang with GOD (emphasis theirs) as caller ID, I snickered. Clearly, someone thought a phone call a smart metaphor to use in showing God calling a person to attend to his flock. But I want to know, what network was GOD using? It couldn’t have been any of Nigeria’s unreliable ones.

A cringeworthy scene shows a pastor (Patrick Diabuah) saying solemnly, “God is calling you, God is calling you,” to Sade. Sure as rain, soon after, the movie’s GOD makes that phone call. If I was a deity, I would be inclined to slapping someone hard on the face for the disrespect. Who knew a supernatural being had to bow to human technology and replace the famed still, small voice with an iPhone?

Another scene that could contest for the most head-shaking features RMD going through a transformation. RMD is not a bad actor, but he is not great either—so he can’t sell an inherently misguided scene that has to be credulous only to the most adamant of Synagogue TV watchers. In the interest of avoiding spoilers, it should be enough to say the scene tries to position Jesus (played admirably black and curly by Ademola Adedoyin) as Professor Peller.

As Sade, Zainab Balogun is once again asked to play a role she is temperamentally unsuited for. Sure, she tries, but she has repeatedly shown that she can’t quite work emotional extremes. There are tears here, but she can’t communicate anguish except through whimpering. Like most of her peers, faced with a physically demanding role, Balogun becomes more a face model than an actress. (One wonders how Nollywood actors and actresses would play a character with facial paralysis.) “We are going east,” someone announces in the film. It is quite harsh considering all the work that has gone into making God Calling, but if this was real life, I might be tempted to go west instead.

The post Oris Aigbokhaevbolo: “God Calling” is Gospel Kitsch appeared first on BellaNaija – Nigeria breaking & top news to the World 24/7. Read Today.

EU election report: Straight from Janus!

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EU election report: Straight from Janus!
JANUS was the Roman mythological god that had two faces, front and back. One looked back into the past, with the other gazing forward into the future. Heaven helps you if you lost your way and ran into Janus at a crossroads. He would blight your plight. Continue reading EU election report: Straight from Janus! […]
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State police a nullity without constitutional amendment- Gusa, ex- Benue AG

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State police a nullity without constitutional amendment- Gusa, ex- Benue AG
Mr. Michael Gusa, is the immediate past Attorney- General and Commissioner for Justice in Benue State. In this interview, he spoke on many issues, including the agitation for the creation of State Police in the country, the amendment of the Electoral Act, the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit’s directive on financial autonomy for local governments, the […]
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INEC presents certificate of return to Niger senator

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INEC presents certificate of return to Niger senator
The presentation follows a judgement delivered by the Supreme Court last week. The post INEC presents certificate of return to Niger senator appeared first on Premium Times Nigeria. Related
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JUST IN: Kidnapped ex-minister’s son freed

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JUST IN: Kidnapped ex-minister’s son freed
Dayo Adewole was kidnapped on Tuesday in Oyo State. The post JUST IN: Kidnapped ex-minister’s son freed appeared first on Premium Times Nigeria. Related
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Police dismiss UK report, say Nigeria is very safe to live in

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Police dismiss UK report, say Nigeria is very safe to live in
Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu Police public relations officer, Frank Mba on Wednesday dismissed claims that Nigeria is unsafe, saying it is one of the most beautiful places to live in. This follows a publication by the UK authority warning it’s citizens to stay away from 24 Nigerian states. However, Mba dismissed the statement […]
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Nigerian Newspaper Headlines Today: 20th June 2019

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Nigerian Newspaper Headlines Today: 20th June 2019
These are our top headlines from Nigerian Newspapers for Today, Thursday,20th June 2019: Must Read: Confessional Statement Of A Nursing Mother Caught With AK47 Rifles The Ogun state police command has arrested a nursing mother for being in possession of one AK 47 rifle and 18 live ammunition. According to the woman who was paraded at […]
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“Ello Baby” – Young Jon x Tiwa Savage x Kizz Daniel

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“Ello Baby” – Young Jon x Tiwa Savage x Kizz Daniel
“Ello Baby“, Tiwa Savage x Kizz Daniel and Young John the Wicked producer teams up for this new Banger! This new single tagged “Ello Baby” was actually inspired by music producer and serial hitmaker, Young John. He made a monster beat and linked with Tiwa Savage and Kizz Daniel for a superb combination. Number 1 […]
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APC Governor speaks on Buhari’s ministerial list

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APC Governor speaks on Buhari’s ministerial list
<p class="">President Buhari is yet to send a list of ministerial nominees to the Senate for confirmation weeks after his swearing in for a second term in office.</p> <p class=""><strong>Governor Atiku Bugudu of Kebbi state has reacted to claims that </strong><a href="https://www.pulse.ng/news/local/buhari-may-appoint-ambode-bindow-and-abubakar-as-ministers/gw719jj" id="729a3aac-07ce-4935-b7fc-e687b0ed736c">they have a role to play</a><strong> in the nomination of persons to President […]
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Court sentences baker to 13 years’ imprisonment for raping teenager

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Court sentences baker to 13 years’ imprisonment for raping teenager
<p class="">A Lagos State High Court in Ikeja, on Tuesday, June 19, 2019 sentenced a 22-year-old baker, Lawal Kamoru, to 13 years imprisonment for sexually molesting a 14-yr-old girl.</p> <h1>Kamoru was found guilty of the one count of defilement levelled against him by the state following Justice Raliat Adebiyi’s judgement.</h1> <p class="">The incident had happened […]
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Ex-micro finance bank MD arraigned over alleged N107m fraud

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Ex-micro finance bank MD arraigned over alleged N107m fraud
<p class="">One Mr. Chijioke Mbagwu, a former Managing Director of Imperial Micro Finance Bank, on Wednesday, June 19, 2019 appeared before a Federal High Court in Lagos to answer to fraud allegations leveled against him.</p> <h1>NAN report has it that Mbagwu is being prosecuted by the Federal Ministry of Justice on 14 counts of fraudulent […]
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PDP, Ashiru beg Tribunal for adjournment to tackle stress

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PDP, Ashiru beg Tribunal for adjournment to tackle stress
<p class="">Mr. Elisha Kurah (SAN), lead Counsel to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its Governorship Candidate in the March 9 poll in Kaduna State, Alhaji Isah Ashiru, on Wednesday begged for long adjournment to allow the team of counsel time to rest.</p> <h1>The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Kurah, who vividly looked worn-out, […]
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Gov. AbdulRazaq laments deplorable condition at NYSC Orientation Camp in Kwara

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Gov. AbdulRazaq laments deplorable condition at NYSC Orientation Camp in Kwara
<p class="">Gov. AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq of Kwara has expressed his displeasure at the deplorable condition of facilities at the NYSC Permanent Orientation Camp, in Yikpata, Edu Local Government Area of the state.</p> <h1>The governor, who made unscheduled visit to the camp on Wednesday, described the orientation camp as a “penitentiary that is not fit for human […]
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