The Dutiful Wife
In a bid to tell stories that do not spoon-feed their audiences, some film-makers then fall into the trap of making movies with gaps, which irredeemably affect the understandability of the stories they tell. The Dutiful Wife, Soji Ogunnaike’s short film for the Afrinolly Cinema for Change Series, supported by the Ford Foundation, is ensnared in this trap.
The film’s greatest burden is that in its first few minutes, it throws up a lot of matters, which could not be handled in 28 minutes because the film actually possesses material that can comfortably make up a feature film.
Ibidun (Tana Adelana) is pushed to adultery due to the fact that her husband, Francis (Arinze Okonkwo), is impotent and so incapable of performing his conjugal duties.
What is the urologist’s diagnosis of Francis’s impotence; given that impotence is not necessarily a death sentence? No doctor asks her patient, ‘Is the foetus a threat to you?’ It is the doctor’s responsibility to investigate if the pregnancy poses any threat to the woman’s life, so that question exposes a disappointing lack of research in this short film.
How will a woman be made-up at all times; even when she has just awoken to prepare breakfast, dressed in a house coat? There are, at least, two instances where the dialogue contains grammatical errors. Francis says, ‘… that is if you have not drank it.’ Drunk is the past participle of drink. Mama Ibidun (Patience Oseni) asks her daughter, ‘Who came to our aids?’ Aid is the right word.
At the end of the day, the film fails to make a bold statement on adultery, impotence and marriage of convenience, which are some of the ideas it toys with.