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Ninah’s Dowry, Film Festival Review by John Delia

STARK

REALISM

WITH GUT

WRENCHING SCENES

NINAH’S DOWRY

Review by John Delia

Life in other countries can be brutal in many different ways, with spousal abuse coming to the forefront more often in America the film Ninah’s Dowry becomes a harsh reminder.  The film runs through October 23 as part of the Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival.  Direction, acting and cinematography are outstanding in Ninah’s Dowry with filmmaker Victor Viyuch in attendance at Florida Atlantic University on Tuesday October 30th at 2:30 pm for a Q&A.

Mbufung Seikeh as Ninah in Ninah’s Dowry

The film opens in the mountains of Cameroon, Africa with Ninah (Mbufung Seikeh) the 20-year-old wife of Memfi (Anurin Nwunembom) her head strong husband.  A sharecropper for a local land baron, his duty to him overshadows justice to his family.  On one afternoon Memfi gets a visit from the baron telling him that one of his children has ridden his horse. Being forbidden, Memfi has to punish the boy.  Ninah steps in to protect him she also gets beaten.

Deciding she has had enough abuse, Ninah escapes the house and travels to her sick father.  When she gets there they tell her that she must go back to her husband because it is the customary law.  Ninah refuses causing uproar among her family members and friends of Memfi.  Memfi demands his dowry back.  When she cannot pay he grabs her and forces her to go back to his farm.

The film has some very gut wrenching scenes with a lot of brutality. Director/writer Victor Viyuch gives the viewer a close up view of how women are treated in the Cameroon like slaves to their husbands and fathers.  In one scene her own son turns against her in favor of his pitiless father.

The movie is unrated but does contain violence, brutality and language.

FINAL ANALYSIS: A very good film that hits at the heart of troubled women in Africa. (B)

Additional Film Information:

  • Cast: Anurin Nwunembom (as Memfi), Mbufung Seikeh (as Ninah), Crista Eka (as Clarise)
  • Directed by: Victor Viyuch
  • Cinematography: Victor Viyuch
  • MPAA Rating: NR (Contains Violence, Language, Brutality)
  • Genre: Drama
  • Language: English + Pidgin & Babanki w/English sub-titles
  • Running Time: 1 hr 35 min
  • FLIFF Play Date: October 21, 22, 23
  • Country of Origin: Cameroon, Africa

 

Director Victor Viyuch filming Nina’s Dowry

THE DIRECTOR: Named one of Filmmaker Magazine’s 25 New Independent Filmmakers to watch, Victor Viyuoh wrote and directed the thesis short MBOUTOUKOU which was filmed entirely in Cameroon, Africa. In one year on the circuit, Mboutoukou played at over 100 festivals including Venice in Italy, New Directors/New Films and Rotterdam. Beginning with its nomination for the 2002 Student Academy Awards, Mboutoukou won over 20 awards including Best Short at SXSW, Best Student Short at FLIFF, and the Rights of the Child Award at the Chicago International Children’s Film Festival. Victor is an alumnus of USC’s School of Cinema-Television and Film Independent’s Directors and Screenwriters labs.

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