Stephanie Linus “Dry” fascinates me from start to finish

Written, Produced and Directed by Stephanie Linus. The movie which marks the actress directorial debut stars; Liz Benson, William McNamara, Darwin Shaw, Paul Sambo, Olu Jacobs, Rahama Hassan with Stephanie Linus playing the lead.
Dry focuses on cultural issues in West Africa as well as Stigmatization, Rape and Abuse of women. It tells the story of Zara Robbins (Stephanie Linus), a successful African doctor living in Wales who determined to stay away from her childhood memories and this now threatens her commitment to marry her boyfriend Alex (Darwin Shaw), a gentleman she truly loves. Her mother, a missionary to Africa, has been unable to get Zara to go with her for her yearly medical aid trips to Africa. When her mother falls ill and unable to make a crucial trip, Zara discovers there is a strong possibility her long lost daughter might still be alive in Africa and she steered in a new direction to face and conquer her darkest fears.

The film opens to Zara receiving an award for her humanitarian services and as a successful doctor, as the film transports back and forth between wales and Northern Nigeria. Halima played by Zubaida Ibrahim Fagge, a 13 years old girl was married off to Sani (Tijani Faraga); a man five times older than her. After the marriage, Sani keeps raping her and she (Halima) always complains “Uncle beats me” even to her parents. But instead, her father told her to learn how to love her husband. She becomes pregnant, lost the baby at birth and suffers vesicovaginal fistula (VVF), a serious disability that can be experienced by women after childbirth which allows involuntary discharge of urine into the vaginal vault. The director takes her time to enlightens us on VVF, the causes, symptoms and prevention. Halima was abandoned by her husband and parents, everyone hate her because she smells. She is thrown out of her husband’s house and rejected by her father.
Dry is a beautifully crafted piece of art, the story is radically distinctive with its twists and turns which left me speechless. The cinematography was brilliant and the sounds were properly sequenced. The scene where the village hospital was burnt down was well shot. All the characters put in their best. My favourite character is Dr Londi played by Paul Sambo, he rants about his family looking up to him and how he has not been able to meet up with their needs. Legendary Liz Benson Ameye also made a short appearance in Dry as the Matron, and was fantastic. She is still the Liz Benson we are used to.

There are parts that add humour to the film. There is Dellaliya, the village gossiper whose mouth runs like tap, Then..the village midwife who said she is the one collecting all the deliveries in the village. And the introduction of Comedian Clint Da Drunk who played the role of Doctor Mutanga, he uses humour to pass across the message of the poor state of medical centres in rural areas and it came out well.

Dry did peaceably well except that the Director fails to pay closer attention to some details in the film. Dr Zara said she realised she was carrying her uncle’s child, it was her Aunty’s husband and not her uncle. Then, Sani’s first wife who speaks in good and correct English claim she could not read nor write when she took Halima to the hospital and was asked to fill a form. More also, Sani’s mother speaks like a professor of English, or did I miss the part where it was said she has a university degree? In a rural area as such, I was expecting to see the characters speak in Broken English or English in Hausa accent just as Halima’s father did. Seeing those characters expressing themselves eloquently in English got me confused. The characters would have delivered their dialogue in Hausa with a subtitle to back it up. Kunle Afolayan did with October 1 and we understand every bit of the dialogues.

The movie ended well, The scene where Dr Zara addresses the house of assembly have me in tears as I could not help it. Also in the scene, she confronts her abuser, Hon Musa Abdullahi who now happens to be a member of the house of assembly.
With the buzz, so many awards nominations and winning some which include, Africa Movie Academy Award for Best Nigerian Film and AMVCA Best overall movie Africa. I can categorically say the awards are best deserved.

It’s an A for Dry on yeyepikin.

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