Directors/Producers Report | 28 September 2012 03:19 CET

Flashback: Domitilla

By Jayne Augoye

Anyone who saw the 1996 movie, Domitilla will attest to the fact that its success was derived largely from the media buzz it enjoyed. With Ann Njemanze, Enebeli Elebuwa, Kate Henshaw, Basorge Tariah Jnr and Sandra Achums, all lighting up the screen, the movie was an instant box office hit.

Directed by Zeb Ejiro, and unlike Ken Nnebue's 1994 film, Glamour Girls, it did not have very suggestive sex scenes or nudity despite the suggestive trailers, posters and movie jacket.

Interestingly, this did not stop the movie from becoming a commercial success while its catchy title gradually found its way into the Nigerian lexicon (denoting a prostitute).

Revealing the life of an average prostitute and quest for survival, it was a combination of serious humour, empathy and emotion, all struggling for a place in the heart of the viewer. Although the lead character, Njemanze, had earlier starred in an equally successful movie, True Confession, her role in Domitilla saw her assume star status. She was quoted as saying,”I had to travel to Edo State to learn how to speak their kind of Pidgin English. I also had to shed some weight and hang out with prostitutes at popular joints in Lagos to understudy them. To play Domittila, the only thing we didn't do was to sleep with them in their brothels, it paid off at last''.

The film, which spawned a second part, made the likes of Ada Ameh and Alex Lopez instant celebrities. 16 years after its release, the movie's dominant message 'Ashewo no be work' remains as relevant as ever.

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