“Before she married, she thought she was in love; but the happiness that should have resulted from that love, somehow had not come. It seemed to her that she must have made a mistake, have misunderstood in some way or another. And Emma tried hard to discover what, precisely, it was in life that was denoted by the words ‘joy, passion, intoxication’, which had always looked so fine to her in books.” Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovary
And so February, the month of love (amour as the French will say), the month of affection and disaffection ends, with me reading Madame Bovary (text for a MOOC art class) – that classic tale of love gone awry, of the pursuit of the fickle, non-existent, ‘happily ever after’ love, that is, no matter how Romantic we pretend to be, rare in life: Chocked out by the hum-drum; by life itself.
Madame Bovary may have been written in the 19th century but two hundred plus years later, February, 2013 sees Valentine, soured by allegations of boyfriends killing girlfriends, of Madame Goldie – that sensual, ‘heart-on-the-sleeve-love’ apologist – dying so suddenly, not even Tarantino could have dreamt up a plot so obscure and spectacular. Her life deserves a movie: not the regular Nollywood fare, but something better, more dignifying, more artistic.
For Nollywood, the industry is stuck in a time-warp. Like Miss Havisham, who stops the clock, nay her life, at the exact time her groom disappointed, Nollywood is stuck in the 1970’s, the decade of The Village Headmaster. And that is why, with the death of any of the legends from that era, the cry gets louder. The cry of anguish and pain seemingly, but truly the cry of dearth: dearth of talent, dearth of growth, dearth of genuine new stars to replace the old guard. This time the Headmaster himself, Justice Esiri, has passed on to join his ancestors and his peers.
And while we reminisce on a bygone age, a Jack Nicholson gets a ‘bit’ part at the Oscars, playing a minor role in presenting Best Film to Argo, the story of the Canadian caper. And while Argo is a great film which I thoroughly enjoyed, I wanted Lincoln to win. I first read the story of Abe as a kid and gleefully fell in love with that All-American story of the most famous US president in history: The story of the poor little kid from the log house who studied hard and literarily pulled himself up by the bootstraps to rule the States and help free the slaves. A realist and modernist, he was very much unlike Emma Bovary with her illusions.
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