Ghanaian filmmakers keep creating thrillers that wow their audiences. Ghallywood produces quality movies year after year. 2018 was no different as the industry produced yet another world-class film in 'The Burial of Kojo'. With such movies, one can tell that Ghanaians are working hard to outdo everyone in Africa. Ghallywood and Nollywood have been longterm allies who try to compete against each other since way back.
'The Burial of Kojo' was directed by Sam Blitz Bazawule; a musician, director, and writer who is also known as Blitz, the ambassador. The movie stars Ama Abebrese as Esi, Anima Misa as Nana, Henry Adofo as Apalu, Joseph Otsiman as Kojo, Joe Addo as detective Koomson and Kobina Amissah-Sam as Kwabena. The plot is quite catchy as one follows the storyline of the protagonist. Esi’s life is full of drama from her family. One cannot help but empathise with her life as she faces challenges which are sometimes beyond her.
What’s the story?
A film is rated by how well the storyline flows. 'The Burial of Kojo' is more than just a film. Meet Esi, a young woman who reminisces how life was when she was a child. Esi’s father did not have the healthiest relationship with his brother Kwabena. We see how the mistakes Kojo made about a decade ago cause a grave incident. It happens that Kojo goes on an illegal mining expedition with his brother but as fate would have it, disappears into the mines.
Esi is therefore forced to look for her missing father; a journey which is both risky and difficult for her. She, however, braves on as she is determined to find her father. Kojo's wife and Detective Koomson also joined in the mission to look for Kojo.
When examining Esi’s character, one cannot help but notice how focused the girl is. You will automatically love her innocence and life choices. She picks the best behaviour from her father who seemed unsure with life. Esi’s mother, Ama is another interesting character in the movie. She does not talk a lot, only living her life righteously to be the best example to her daughter.
Kwabena can pass as the antagonist in this film. It is almost impossible to figure out what this man has in mind. He is as mysterious as they come. He is manipulative and takes advantage of his brother Kojo whose only mistake was to appear weak. Kojo can be a favourite character because, in his ways, he worked on trying to improve his relationship with his brother.
The writer of the film brought about many themes in the storyline. One major topic he touched on was brotherhood. Through the lives of Kwabena, the writer shows how guilt and remorse can cause broken links between brothers. Kwabena sought to revenge the death of his bride; Vengeance can be dangerous. Father-daughter relationships was one of the main subjects. We see how close Esi is with her father, and how comfortably and freely the two interact. Esi is a bright kid.
Her character proves that kids are way smart than they are given credit for. Esi is bright and intelligent throughout the movie. While still on Esi’s character, we can see how spirituality played a significant role in her life. We understand how spiritually gifted she is when supernatural figures visited her to give her urgent messages and explained to her how conflicts between the living and the dead would be solved.
One of the major parts of the movie is based on the illegal mining the brothers took part in. This, of course, makes it another major theme in the film, seeing that the current Ghanaian law forbids Galamseyers from digging on land given to mining companies as concessions. On touching about small scale illegal mining in Ghana, director Blitz said that he was inspired to write the story after he came across a newspaper with the headline “Galamsey Miners Buried Alive” when he went to see his family.
He got to learn about Chinese involvement in illegal small scale mining and the role of Galamseyers. Even as he wrote the film, Blitz Bazawaule knew at the back of his mind that he had to make the movie relatable to the Ghanaian as he highlighted the issues the people face. The film touched on neocolonialism by China without making the people appear extremely victimised.
The cast, production team and every other party involved in the making of this film did an excellent job. One thing that stood out in this Sam Blitz movie was its ability to make the audience feel the storyline on a personal level as subjects like spirituality, poverty, and faith are tackled. Esi’s narration skills made the movie more intimate. One can tell that the scriptwriter and cinematographer paid attention to detail.
The rural-Africa setting in the film widely contrasts the urban environment, with the former being serene, quiet and generally peaceful. The latter shows how life is fast in the city, the bustling nature of things and an opposite way of life. 'The Burial of Kojo' is an amalgam of first-rate audiovisuals, a little poetry and a good script which is based on realism.
The story in the movie was told brilliantly, with the script being better than the average Ghanaian film. Esi ’s story is captivating from the start of the film to the end. One cannot help but also appreciate the cinematography as it was superb. ‘The Burial of Kojo’ is a significant movie. The themes of love, dreams, hope, the celebration of life and family make it worthwhile to watch the film. The visuals are perfect in every sense. As much as themes like the neo-colonisation by the Chinese made a fraction of the story, the writer ensured that the Ghanaians in the movie were in charge of the plot. The movie was first screened on 21st September 2018. Not to worry if you missed it because ‘The Burial Of Kojo will show on Netflix on 31st March 2019.