Oftentimes I wonder why a good film is accredited to the creative ingenuity of a director, while the shame of a ‘terrible’ film inescapably attributed to the writer. What’s the innate bias behind that? Seldom times do many watch a good film and go “wow that was a great movie, I wonder who wrote it?” and if you’re part of the ten percent that actually know and understand the efforts of screenwriters then kudos to you.
These two screenwriters are responsible for a few of the most amazing movies in the film industry. They’ve both written critically acclaimed films that can’t go unmentioned when discussing Nigerian cinema of the last decade and a half.
Both amazing movies released in the year 2012, Phone Swap and The Meeting are made up star-studded cast which include Wale Ojo, Nse Ikpe-Etim, Joke Silva, Rita Dominic, Femi Jacobs, Linda Ejiofor, Kate Henshaw, Kehinde Bankole and many others. In the time where cinema was yet to gain as much popularity as it has now, many resorted to pirated copies sold by roadside vendors. As one of the measures of film popularity back then, it was nearly impossible to escape traffic without side eyeing at least three copies of these films from different vendors.
Phone Swap follows the story of Mary and Akin Cole, of two different backgrounds, who switch phones at the airport and walk each other’s shoes for a few days. Nothing like your regular body swap film, this film visualise one of our worst imaginations. Looking at this film from a more modern perspective, the scenario of the phone swap can’t even happen today. With touch and face ID’s already one of the most common security measures, it’ll be difficult to mistakenly switch lives with someone even for a few hours. Asides from the plausibility of the plot playing out in real life, the film was an interesting watch because it incorporated one element Nigerian’s love to see on screen – Love. Nigerians love romance and what’s more romantic than unexpectedly finding the love of your life at the airport?
On the other hand, The Meeting, follows the story of Makinde Esho; a Lagos corporate executive who gets caught up with the excessive bureaucracy designed by the Nigerian government to frustrate anyone and everyone. Asides from the comedic aspect of the story, characterised by exaggerations, the film was wholly relatable for those who have tried to tango with politicians.
In terms of story originality, I’ll give it to The Meeting. Inasmuch as Phone Swap was not the ordinary love story, The Meeting gave us a story that hasn’t exactly been told before. We joke about how Nigeria is one huge comedy show and Tunde Babalola helped bring it on screen. In terms of relatability and authenticity, I’ll give it to The Meeting. It won’t be far fetched to say we’ve all experienced the frustration that came with Nigeria’s bureaucracy. In terms of characterization; The Meeting had more entertaining characters, but in terms of character development; i’ll have to give it to Phone Swap.
To be honest, these weren’t easy choices to make because I believe both movies are absolute amazing and a must watch.