Why ‘Breathe of Life’ beat ‘A Tribe Called Judah’ at AMVCA 2024

Breathe of Life' beat 'A Tribe Called Judah' AMVCA 2024

The Africa Movie Viewers Choice Awards AMVCA 2024 was held on Saturday with Breathe of Life emerging as the Best Movie winner. The film beat A Tribe Called Judah by actress and movie producer Funke Akindele to the surprise of many.

Why were many people surprised that A Tribe Called Judah lost to Breathe of Life?

The new Nollywood has allowed concoction to take centre stage to the detriment of creativity. This occurred due to the hype and brilliant marketing strategies employed by those behind such concoctions. To me, A Tribe Called Judah was a concoction of ideas aimed at cashing out. That’s why the film was released in cinema last December, a period which is usually full of festivities in Nigeria. During such a period, citizens don’t usually pay much attention to how they spend their money. So, a little hype given to a movie can lure them to the cinema to spend their hard-earned money to see it. I can bet that most of those surprised that the film lost to Breathe of Life are those who haven’t seen the movie but didn’t miss out on the news that it is the first movie to gross N1 billion at the box office. I bet they are like, “How come such a high-grossing movie didn’t win the Best Movie award?” To such people, everything is about hype and money made, forgetting that award shows consider how a movie was created, which comes before hype and money made.

Why A Tribe Called Judah is a concoction

When news broke that the movie grossed N1 billion at the box office, I almost got sucked into the hype that would have seen me rush to the cinema. The urge to see the movie grew bigger when President Bola Tinubu, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, and other top politicians and prominent Nigerians began sending congratulations to Funke Akindele for the film’s success. I couldn’t scroll through social media in a day without coming across talks about the film’s success. I guess the whole country was happy for the actress. However, one thing stopped me from going to see the movie. I couldn’t find any real criticism of the movie other than reviews that seemed promotional at the height of the movie’s hype.

Months after the movie’s release, it finally debuted on Prime Video. That was when real reviews poured in. I read the reviews after I saw the movie myself. Honestly, I watched the movie while working on my laptop which I turned on 15 minutes after it began. I was disappointed watching the movie. The story was just a concoction of ideas. I guess the writers were like, “Let’s make a woman the mother of four boys. Let’s make it that she had the four boys for four different men. Let’s also make it that the four boys are a representation of four tribes in Nigeria.” This is just a concoction at play without any concern for the sensibility of viewers.

Was the movie a comedy, drama, action, or what have you? In the spirit of concoction, it mixed everything in the bucket and dished it for Nigerians who weren’t looking during a festive period. What was the essence of the title A Tribe Called Judah? What did the writers have in mind when they made the woman’s children to be from different tribes?

“I think I went in with too many expectations, and you can’t blame me; the narrative was that ‘Funke outdid herself with this one.’ So I went in expecting a unique story. I was expecting to see sleek and stylish cinematography and impeccable dialogue. For a comedy featuring a heist, I was hoping to see the film effortlessly meld humour and suspense. I kept waiting for the highlight, I kept waiting for things to pick up, but this movie failed to rise to the occasion. I guess I have myself to blame; I was expecting too much,” said @nigerianmoviesreview in their review of the movie on Instagram months after its release.

When movie reviewers come down hard on some films, it often seems as if they are ‘bad belle’ people. However, critics of such movie reviewers don’t consider the plight of those who got disappointed after taking the time to see those movies in cinemas following influencer hype. Yes, the movie grossed N1 billion at the box office, which means more money in the bag. But what about those who spent money to see the movie but went home disappointed? It’s like paying huge money only to realize that the purchased product is fake. Who’s going to speak up for such people? That’s where movie reviewers come in, otherwise, cinemas will become a dumping ground for any junk, thereby killing the business for creative producers.

What did A Tribe Called Judah get wrong?

I can almost say the movie was created for unintelligent minds. The scenes kept moving from one drama to another with forced acting and overacting. I saw the same kind of vibe found in Omo Ghetto and Jenifa, which are both films by Funke Akindele, leaving me to think I was seeing those films again. Also, the movie could not give viewers something to look forward to. The same thing can’t be said of Breathe of Life which left me wondering if Timi, played by Wale Ojo, would reconcile with God or how his boy Elijah (Chimezie Imo) would finally find a way to please him.

From the trailer of Breathe of Life, one can say a lot about the minds that put it together. The trailer is far from the type that showcases almost all the action parts just to entice viewers. It simply creates a mood that attracts intelligent minds. The movie went on to win Best Supporting Actor (Ademola Adedoyin), Best Lead Actor (Wale Ojo), Best Supporting Actress (Genoveva Umeh), Best Director (BB Sasore) and Best Movie. What did A Tribe Called Judah win? The movie was nominated for Best Makeup, Best Writing in a Movie, Best Lead Actress, Best Movie, and Best Supporting Actor but lost all. I guess the AMVCA organisers saw something similar to what I saw that made them snub the movie.

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