Six years after the Nigerian Civil war, ‘76’ follows the story of Captain Dewa (Ramsey Nouah) a soldier whose honour is tested when his co-officers plan to execute a coup and in the process, try to involve him against his will. The movie tries to shed light on the heroism of Soldiers’ wives and how the decisions their husbands make directly or indirectly have great impacts on their lives in general. Suzy (Rita Dominic) is Dewa’s heavily pregnant wife faced with a dilemma of fighting to save her husband or leaving him to face the repercussion of his actions.
‘76’ is a project well done after spending about six years in making and been shot on the 16mm in order to reflect perfectly the period the story took place. The Direction by Ojukwu was nothing short of superb as it oozed out from every scene and sequence. The movie was shot in Mokola barracks, Ibadan and a great attention to detail was ensured so we didn’t have to see recent billboards or anything to insinuate the actual year it was shot as is common in way too many Nollywood period pieces.
The Cinematography by Yinka Edward was exceptional and the Afrocentric scores were well fit for every scene though some scenes had dialogue blurred out because the background score was higher. The acting performances were remarkable from Ramsey to Dominic to the faces we have never seen on screen before especially Eunice (Memry Savanhu); the dirty dancing neighbour of the Dewa’s and Aunty Mary (Ada Ofoegu) who made us believe their every action and nuance without a think through.
While Emmanuel Okomanyi’s screenplay had the originality of an adaptation; the first act of the movie seemed to be a particular cause for concern as it crawled and nothing seemed to happen. This could be attributed to Emeka Ojukwu’s editing that felt like several unsynchronizing montages playing out. This flaw was however corrected in the later parts of the first act and the movie in general. The scene where Dewa escapes from his co-officers during a festival was a tad too confusing and didn’t quite add up; but aside that ‘76’ had way too many glorious moments for the minor flaws to hold sway. If this prediction is anything to go by then ‘76’ will definitely be a major contender at every award it will be submitted for in 2017 – covering all notable categories I daresay. The movie has already garnered critical acclaim from the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), British Film Festival (BFI) and the just concluded Africa International Film Festival (AFRIFF).