African film has until recently been an industry monopolised by West African countries like Nigeria and Ghana and, of course, South Africa. But that doesn’t mean other countries have no stories to tell.
Perhaps, it was just a matter of time and for Malawi the moment is being defined by noble and steady strides which are being made.
The latest being the premiere of Flora Suya’s My Mother’s Story which is a patent testament of a future already broken through; a new era that has to be nurtured at all cost.
For those who patronised the premiere and DVD launch of My Mother’s Story at Bingu International Conference Centre (BICC) in Lilongwe on Saturday night, vanity lost it all.
They got the ultimate value for their money—and the faint-lit auditorium of the massive BICC just summed up the excitement.
Suya herself must have been absolutely confident with what she had come up with, for you don’t just invite Vice-President Saulos Chilima and his spouse Mary to an event that lacks lustre.
The film is focusing on hurdles women face, and strategies they use both for their own and their children’s survival, with Suya playing the role of the main actor, Tadala.
The patrons were heard responding massively as they watched the one-hour-thirty-minute film. It was clear from their reactions they were appreciating the artistry.
The Vice President Chilima as well as Zambian High Commissioner to Malawi, Salome Mwananshuku, were obviously part of the satisfied audience.
One patron Omega Malikhwa could not hide her excitement at the end of the movie.
“This movie is great. It depicts what actually happens in society. There are a number of lessons that we can draw from it.
This is a masterpiece. At least, Malawi is growing in the film industry. Possibly very soon we will become a force to reckon with in the film industry,” Malikhwa said.
It could possibly explain why the patrons were rooted in their chairs at the end of the film, before massive handclapping.
Actor and drama lecturer at Mzuzu University Misheck Mzumara was equally impressed with the production.
“This is a mature production. Flora has shown the talent she has. Everything in the film is well-coordinated. Even the theme itself reflects what is happening in Malawi,” Mzumara said.
Gospel singer Gloria Manong’a who composed the film’s theme song was over the moon for having taken part in the project.
“I’m happy to have contributed to this film. It is a great film. When I was approached to do the song, I took it as a great opportunity. I’m glad that my song has contributed to the greatness of this film. I thank God for that,” said Manong’a.
Suya, who wrote the story and directed the movie alongside Bester Kauwa thanked patrons for supporting her.
“I’m happy with the response. It has been massive. It has been a product of dedication and hard work. I thank God for this great production,” Suya said.
The film which was shot in Lilongwe, though, has some unresolved issues, including the actual telling of Tadala’s story to her daughter Khumbo (My mother’s story).
The whereabouts of Chiyembekezo the garden boy, who impregnated Tadala, are not clearly known.
He is remembered towards the end of the movie because Tadala’s housemaid, Patuma, was asking about him.
When asked if there is a ‘Part 2’ coming, Suya, who also starred in Shemu Joyah’s award winning movies The Last Fishing Boat and Seasons of a Life said ‘no’.
“This film ends here. There is no Part 2. Very soon, I will embark on another project. I just need to have a breather and in two months, I should be able to start another project,” Suya said.
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