‘Up North’ the Movie: A Review

Florence Uwaeme

‘Up North’ is your typical Nigerian movie. The movie is an Anakle films debut feature-length film produced in collaboration with Inkblot and directed by Tope Oshin. The film is set in Bauchi and Lagos.

Though it is not an original story because we’ve seen other Nigerian films where the rich protagonist travels to a rural location in search of self-actualization, however, the story-line is well tailored and gives a kind of fulfilment on its own.

The film conveys the message of how a purported punishment turns out to become a blessing of true friendship, love – that isn’t afraid of expression, of life-changing opportunities for the girl child in disguise.

The film is about a young man Bassey Otuekong (Banky W), who just returned from his study abroad and his father, Chief Otuekong (Kanayo. O. Kanayo) is in a hurry to make a corporate king that will take over the family’s business when he retires and expands the business by marrying the daughter of his associate in order to secure a merger. The young man made it clear to his father that he is not interested in becoming a corporate mogul.

Seeing that Bassey isn’t yet ready to man-up and take responsibilities as the heir apparent of the Multinational construction company, Chief Otuekong decides to punish him by sending him to Bauchi state for his NYSC.

On arrival at the NYSC camp, Bassey forgets it’s no longer business as usual. His first encounter with a fellow corp member who will later become his best friend was that of absolute hilarity. His new friend Sadiq (Ibrahim Suleiman) brings in humour to the narrative.

Though Bassey was faced with myriads of challenges as the new Physical Education teacher, however, he was able to trash them all out with the help of his friends. From convincing the girls to participate in track and field to battling with the parents that refused their girls from participating in any kind of sports.

The English and Hausa languages are fostered to give the viewers a taste of the North. The aesthetic representation of the northern Nigerian cultural heritage during the festival is commendable. The formidable landscape is quite a sight to behold.

One begins to wonder why Nigeria isn’t yet a tourist attraction with all its natural endowments.

The importance and or relevance of social media as a tool for social, cultural and individual change cannot be overlooked.

Instagram helped make Bassey’s stay “Up North” interesting as he shared his activities with his followers and was encouraged to not give up on the girls.

I consider the fact that Idara (Michelle Dede) calls her dad chief instead of Dad quite unsettling. For me, it kind of shows lack of good rapport between father and daughter. Little wonder Chief fails to understand his son and curtail his excesses amicably without fights.

Another flaw I noticed was the way Idara was forthwith in admonishing Bassey’s female friend teacher. It was as though that was the sole purpose of her visit to Bauchi.

If you’ve ever lived in the north, you’ll agree with me that those girls would not be allowed to participate in the school games, not because of their health nor their slack in academic performance, but because the teacher in charge isn’t from among them.

The scene where Bassey was joined by his female students wouldn’t happen in real life.

‘Up North’ is a feel-good movie that keeps you smiling while on it, especially if you’ve had the opportunity of living in the Northern part of the country.

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