Hagiography. It has nothing to do with this piece. I just think it’s a nice word and I have never had the chance to use it. So here; Hagiography! Hagiography!! Hagiography!!!
Honestly, I had forgotten entirely about THE BIG SIX until this morning. This morning when the trotro mate gave me a dirty one cedi note. Folding the note, something caught my attention and it threw me back…way back to my Social Studies class. I tried to name all of them off head while I looked at their images on the note and realized interests have changed. So much has happened.
Not much has been done outside the classrooms to remind us of the big six. Unless it’s Ghana’s Independence and Republic Holidays. You’ll see everyone remember them on the morning of such days and forget them just before the afternoon Beach Parties and evening jams.
Kwame Nkrumah, Obetsebi Lamptey, Ako Adjei and…I gave up. Getting off the bus, a deeper understanding of THE BIG SIX got to me. Quite philosophical yet realistic, I see THE BIG SIX as persons who inspire you to greatness, liberation and independence with their works. My mind wondered on a lot of persons or things that mean the big six to me with and this came to mind – movies.
Wanting to be a filmmaker, I have seen a lot of movies for inspiration, but I will restrict this piece to Ghanaian productions. From a long list of Ghanaian movies I have seen, I came up with THE BIG SIX movies that have set the standard and in some cases are every Ghanaian movie lovers favorite; arguably.
I TOLD YOU SO
When we wore nappy afro and Accra was less crowded, less dirty, incredibly stylish and films were better made, there was I TOLD YOU SO. This film combines comedy in Fanti to tell the story of how young women use riches as a primary factor for marriage.
Before I saw this film just 5years ago when the Silverbird Cinema in Accra opened the Ghana Film Week, I thought it was all about hype and claiming it’s spot as one of the first motion pictures of Ghana. But this film is actually great. It still is.
It is the film you can see over and over again and still spells out the spirit and aura of the era – 1970. We are reminded of I TOLD YOU SO when Araba Stamp, Osuabrobuo and Kapoipoi are mentioned. I could never get their real names but well, neither could their contemporaries.
I TOLD YOU SO was Directed by Egbert Adjesu.
Kwesi Atta Bosomefi…Quincy Arthur Bosomfield! The change of name rolled as fast as the pace of this film. No unnecessary scenes and establishing shots.
Kwaw Ansah has been serving life to us. Life in motion picture. Life in storytelling. Life in history nine years after his debut smash hit LOVE BREWED IN AFRICAN POT, another Ghanaian classic.
HERITAGE AFRICA is a classic historical film that takes you from the present to the past. The production is so tangible you could literally hold the characters, smell the settings and try to dodge bullets while they shoot (Yes! That’s how real and believable it is). The tragedy follows colonial officer, Quincy Arthur Bosomfield’s struggle to reconstruct his African Identity – which starts from anglicizing of his real name Kwasi Attah Bosomafie. He didn’t like the taste of his name on his tongue and the sound in his ears.
The film explores great Symbolism, unbridled Ghanaian culture, impeccable directing, and believable acting from David Dontoh, Kofi Bucknor and Anima Misa.
HERITAGE AFRICA was Written, Produced and Directed by Kwaw Ansah.
NO TIME TO DIE
I saw NO TIME TO DIE at NAFTI in 2012. The only relationship between this movie and Death at A Funeral is death. Death and funerals play significant roles in Ghanaian culture. King Ampaw manages to creatively tell a story of love in the midst of mourning, dirges and in a hearse.
A hearse driver meets and falls in love with a young, beautiful dancer who is planning an elaborate funeral for her mother. A lengthy percentage of the movie is set in the hearse with witty language; English and Twi. I have seen quite a number of both old and recent Ghanaian movies, No Time to Die has one of the best cinematography and transition.
NO TIME TO DIE was Directed by King Ampaw.
RUN BABY RUN
The sound boy! The sound! This movie to me, by far has the best sound and sound editing in Ghana. Sound and Editing so good you could hear heartbeat of actors palpitate. Don’t get me wrong – the sound wasn’t exaggerated. Just much attention to details. Emmanuel Apea is one of my favorite Ghanaian filmmakers. He lived years ahead of other filmmakers.
Run Baby Run traces the pursuit of a young student, who chancing on a stash of cocaine when they inadvertently picked the wrong bag during his little sister’s visit to London, managed to sell the loot. The entire movie is an escape from the owners of the bag with nerve wrecking suspense accompanied by great sound score.
RUN BABY RUN was Written by John Apea and Directed by Emmanuel Apea.
I SING OF A WELL
Great picture. Brilliant Story. Beautiful Setting.
I could go endlessly on with this historical drama about the dynamics of the slave trade and resistance to slave trade before the arrival of the Europeans. Yes! There was slave trade in Africa before the arrival of the Europeans.
Ghanaian films barely discuss aspect of History so I was excited when Leila Djansi made this movie. Not excited enough to make me stay awake through though. LOL! I slept through the movie but have since seen it over five times and it’s always new to me.
This is one of the movies you will still feel the need to own a CD and keep on your shelf if you are an ardent Ghanaian film lover.
I SING OF A WELL was Written and Directed by Leila Djansi.
A STING IN A TALE
Go to school. Get a degree. Get a job. Get married and DIE. These stages work just fine until after you get that degree.
Of all the six films, A STING IN A TALE is my favorite. When I first saw the trailer, I exclaimed – A FCKUING GHOST STORY?! Well, it is not the usual African ghost stories. It’s a movie every young Ghanaian can relate to. Especially, ending your national service and not retained. You realized there’s more to life than a University Degree.
The movie is about the struggle young people go through after university; unemployment, uncertainty, desperation, love and in the middle of it all laughter.
What I love most about A STING IN A TALE is the arrangement of scenes and reality of events. From natural to the supernatural with a lot of twists.
This is a movie I will recommend to anyone who wants to watch a Ghanaian movie for the first time.
A STING IN A TALE was written and Directed by Shirley-Frimpong Manso.
Well, there are no general agreement upon what makes a movie great or accurately BIG in this context. If you are one of those who will be quick to disagree with this list, kindly read the fourth paragraph again, with special attention to the pronoun.
Hagiography. Have I already mentioned how nice this word is?
NOTE: You can agree to disagree, but that won’t be fun. It will leave the comments section boring. What are your BIG SIX Ghanaian movies?