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Exploring ‘The Happyness Limited’; Imoh Umoren’s movie about love in its basic and purest form.

There was the deformed-faced man. There was Kiki Omeili. Then there was the prospect of love brewing between two imperfect souls. One an internal imperfection. The other a physical one. Those were what I saw in the trailer of ‘Happyness Limited‘ that struck a chord. Maybe it was the sadness, or the humanity. I think it was Kiki Omeili’s sharp, clear, and distinct voice, the landscaped greenery and love that pulled even stronger.

I love love. I’m proud to say. So the movie never left my sight.

During its premier, in December, to a full house who were all excited, I followed, silently cursing the cold that wasted my pass. But I still couldn’t know as much as my piqued curiosity demanded. The many layers of the story makes it multi-directional, with each route leading somewhere. Is there a point where they all converge and make one meaning? I don’t know. I guess that point will be called love.

Imoh Umoren; the producer and Director of the movie; ‘Happyness Limited, told us, in an interview,

“…like the bible there are so many different meanings you can get from the film. The entire film is a microcosm of modern society where we need to put on a smiling face to appear normal to the world. We have an entire industry from Always-Be-Happy/How To Be Happy theory…and so even if you are hurting you live in the delusion that all is well. This is also propagated by Pastors, Political parties and Ponzi schemes. The film is about a man Gregory who tries to pick up the pieces of his life after he lost everything in a fire. It’s really a tragedy even though I’ve caught a few people laughing at some of the scenes. But different people will derive different meanings from the film…”

“I wrote this film while struggling with depression and having to fit in to the society that doesn’t allow you to grieve or show a weakness because you are a man. I remember when my parents died I wasn’t allowed to mourn I had to be a man about it. The movie also came from the feeling of not being good enough for society. Not being normal enough and just struggling to find your way… I didn’t set out to make a moral story. I hate those films. I wanted to just tell the truth about vulnerability and struggle and love…..” he paused and I thought, the picture of the love he’s painting is different from the one in my mind. Where is all that mawkish stuff I was expecting, ehn? Even if it is short term.

Then he continued and I realized he has a knack for love stories too.

He said, “I always unwittingly end up making love stories, but not the sort of love that valentine celebrates…(that is) the sexual love, the buy-me-a-gift-or-we-are-finished (kind of) love, but love in it’s basic and purest form. Love for a human being…”

And I thought, that should be interesting. Does the inclusion of sex take love away from its basic and purest form?. But I understood what he was saying. Love in its basic and purest form is what most people want.

 

The Happyness Limited will start showing in cinemas across Nigeria on the 3rd of February. Also watch out for its community cinema showing around you.

 

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