Abba T. Makama follows his 2016 acclaimed film, Green White Green, with a relatively lighter piece in The Lost Okoroshi (TLO). However, don’t let the dancing masquerades in the trailer fool you, the content carries more weight than the few dance moves of the Okoroshi.
In The Lost Okoroshi, after months of repeated dreams about masquerades, a traditional young man (“Raymond” played by Seun Ajayi) wakes up one morning to find himself in the body of one – the great Okoroshi. He is unable to remove the mask or the costume, unable to communicate with his wife, and he barely manages to convince her that he’s actually her husband. Oh plus, he also has some new supernatural powers to tow. He and his wife (“Nneka” played by Judith Audu) first go around trying to find a fix to his situation; but after they realize there’s none to be found, Raymond begins to manifest fully in his new role.
The story behind this film will pull you in in the most unexpected of ways. The first thirty minutes is a drag to survive watching and quite honestly could have been cut to a 5-10 minute ordeal. However, you’ll eventually find that that’s only the tip of the editing woes in this film. When the story finally kicks into full gear, you can’t help but appreciate how nicely the writer manages to balance the surrealist elements of the plot. It’s interesting seeing how each group of individuals the Okoroshi comes across reacts to him differently. The mix of the helplessness of the predicament, the ludicrousness of the situation as a whole, and the subtle comedy that pervades each scene is balanced to a tee. You find yourself not questioning a world where a man can wake up with supernatural powers, while also wondering how his wife is faring at home in this time, and concurrently being impressed with his sense of justice and the scenes in which he unleashes his supernatural powers.
Makama brings a lot of existential questions into the audiences mind as the story goes along. It causes you to question the structure of the Nigerian/African society today and the potential identity crisis we face. A specific example of the genius in the writing is in the singular scene where the IPSSHRR executives argue over where the masquerade should be – it appears as though it’s about one thing but the scene exposes so much.
Makama subconsciously causes us to ask if there’s a place for our traditional identities in the face of modern and western influences that have supposedly corrupted today’s society. He ensures that the message is not lost on any audience member by including the character of the doctor/professor’s (played by Tope Tedela) who goes along with the story almost explaining the direction. And Makama manages to do all of this without being overt or forceful with his messaging. At least he isn’t until that final scene.
All is well and good with Makama’s The Lost Okoroshi apart from some production issues that are hard to get past. The most crippling of which is the inability to cut out excess scenes.
Despite all this, whatever you think you know about TLO before you watch it is probably either entirely untrue or woefully incomplete. Hence, the time spent watching it will surely have something in it that surprises or excites you.