So, the weekend wasn't a total bust afterall. I discovered in the last few weeks that a friend of mine is a published author. And no, he's not just a one-time author, but had 3 books to his credit, with the first published when he was still in university. We met during our NYSC year and served on the editorial board together. I mistakenly thought at the time that he was merely a good writer. The error was all mine. He turned out to be pretty damn good. He launched his fourth book on Sunday and I attended the book launch, which was a celebration of the book and the author. It's so good to see people living out their passions.
After the book launch, I went to see the much heralded Sex and the City. And much like I imagined it would be, going to see the movie was as much of an event as seeing the movie.
My friend planned on getting there early just to secure the tickets. When I arrived at the Galleria, I could see why. The cinema floor, ordinarily wall-to-wall with people, was even more so. I could also perceive an excited buzz in the air emanating mostly from the women (or maybe that was just me).
We posed for photographs by a Sex and the City poster, with the photographer taking additional shots just to make sure that he got my shoes (any SATC fan knows the import of the shoes).
Getting to watch the film was perhaps almost as much drama as the film promised. I went out of the cinema hall to get popcorn during a lull caused by an unceremonious halting of the previews. After I waited in that long line, I got back to the hall only to be asked to wait outside while some 'issue' was being sorted out. In the true nature of most things Naija, you are never really told directly what the issue is. Rather you are forced to piece it together bit-by-bit from hearsay and plain gossip. While we waited, a few people who declared that they were friends of the people at the heart of 'the issue' bogarded their way into the hall. On getting back into the hall, it seemed that seats had been reserved and cordoned off with ropes. Of-course, in typical fashion, with no one to watch over these reserved seats, they had been quickly filled up with people other than the intended. And, to cut a very tiresome story short (Believe me! I was there!), we were finally able to start watching the film about an hour after the scheduled time. This was African time to the nth degree!!! It also demonstrates the power of a few to throw a spanner in the works of many.
Maybe I was restless by this time, but the start of the film felt slightly anti-climaxic. The film was obviously intended for devotees of the show firstly, and then everybody else. So, I was left feeling that if I wasn't such a big fan of the show, I would not be overly impressed by it. In true rom-com style, everyone gets a nice, happy ending tied-up in a huge bow. I felt this way at the end of the TV series, particularly with the Carrie and Mr. Big storyline. With the film, I was even more like "Yeah, yeah! Whateva!". While I love a happy ending as much as the next person, I think I might be a little too cynical to really buy it, even when it's presented in the safe world of movies.
I was inclined to think that many among the audience instinctively felt the same way too. As the end credits started to roll, I just knew that if this was a cinema in some other part of the world, the hall would erupt in spontaneous and deafening applause. This was not to be in the Lagos hall in which I saw the film. I think we, as a people, might be inured against that kind of fairy-tale thinking (now, I don't know if that's a crying shame or perhaps the way things should be given the frequent harshness of life in Nigeria).
The clothes and shoes were fun of course, but even the way those were rolled out mercilessly, felt like they were pandering to an already love-struck audience. In fact the entire film appeared to be one long - much too long - loveletter to itself.
More balanced reviews of the film?
- Boston Times
- New York Times