Attending Ghanaian movie "House of Gold" premiere, and a review

I received an email earlier this week about the House of Gold movie premiere from Optimum Media. I had seen the billboards in Accra and I was interested in watching the movie. The Pascal Amanfo Imagination (aka movie directed by Pascal Amanfo) and Yvonne Nelson production featured an all-star cast with an intriguing movie title - House of Gold. I hadn't reviewed a Ghanaian movie in awhile so I saw this as a fine opportunity to jumpstart that for 2013.

After trying to but unsuccessfully getting a media tag for the premiere on Friday, April 12, I arrived at the National Theatre at 8:15pm ready to watch the second screening at 8:30pm. Interestingly, there was another event happening at National T - Face of Wisconsin. As in Wisconsin University in Ghana, don't get it twisted. The premiere was organized by Media GH, a media arm of Dream Holdings, of which Yvonne Nelson is an owner. Many Ghanaian entertainers are using their earnings and benefits of being celebrities to create more revenue generating channels, creating companies and investing. It is great to see Yvonne tread this path too. Interestingly, Dream Holdings is also relaunching Vibe FM as Live FM and this movie premiere was a great avenue to market that.

Turns out I was 2 hours early to the second screening as the 8:30pm showing happened at 10:15 pm. Clearly, the 6pm showing started more than 90 minutes late. Ghanaians are traditionally fashionably late but really, the movie premieres should have started on time. Many of the ladies attending the movie premiere needed time to get dressed, as in "dressed to kill" but that should have had no bearing on the movie start times. Media GH and other entertainment event organizers in Ghana have to keep to time. If you don't, then find ways to reward those who come early when you are on time. But agya momma yɛnka na Accra mmaa bɔ life paa o! Accra ladies dress UP when they are attending entertainment events. The local fashion industry must be booming.
The movie synopis is as follows. It's the story of Dab Ansah Williams, a high flying entrepreneur/business mogul, polygamist and socialite, who is battling with cancer and has 6 weeks left to live according to medical practitioners. With the help of his long time associate and legal representative, he embarks on a mission to call all his children back home – most of whom were born out of wedlock and various illicit affairs. The re-union proves a little more than everyone bargained for as each child returns with an agenda, setting the stage for the most hilarious and bizarre 7 days of their lives. At the end, they realize that there is just too much for too many.
After spending some time deciding to show the "Behind the Scenes" footage of House of Gold, it was shown and we were on to the main event at last. House of Gold featured a cast of Majid Michel, Eddie Watson, Yvonne Nelson, Luckie Lawson, Umar Krupp, etc and Nigerian musicians Omawumi Megbele, Mercy Chinwo and Ice Prince Zamani. This was the first time I had seen Omawumi and Ice Prince in a movie. I am wondering if this was their debut or they had already featured in some Nollywood movies. Omawumi acted her role pretty well and though the Oleku singer was not as convincing, he didn't fare too badly. His song Aboki was also part of the soundtrack and was played at an appropriate time.

The movie had a lot of funny scenes which would make me declare that it was a comedy. Aside a few strong scenes, what many will remember about seeing the movie are the funny moments. Because the script was well thought-out, many will also remember some quotes. I must reveal that the movie had a lot of French lines, ably delivered by the twosome of Marlon Mave and one Emefa lady who tag-teamed in great private scenes and others which involved other cast members. 

The scene in which Mercy Chinwo (playing a maid) sang Omawumi's "Serious Love Nwantiti" with Majid Michel (first son of the house owner) was one of my favorites. I kept thinking this girl can sang! Turns out she is a Nigerial Idol season winner. Given that Omawumi had a very "unserious love" in the movie, having Mercy's character sing a song she has composed was quite ironic and a genius move. Two of my favorite quotes in the movie were generated out of the Majid-Mercy chemistry which bore "If wishes were horses, beggars will play polo" leading to Mercy's character asking another maid "If wishes were horses, will you ride?".

The John Bosco character was consistent and Francis Odega shined in this role. His Pidgin soundbites (though verbose) made you pay attention lest you missed some hilarious lines. After taking some insults in Queen's language English from another worker in the "House of Gold", he said "I swear I no understand anything. Use the language wey I go understamd so I go reply you!" Talking about verbose, one character had viewers expectant the very moment we got to learn that he speaks "big grammar". But once that happens 1 2 many times, we get lines like Majid's character saying "for the duration of this flight, can you please shut up?"

The movie was set as such but in what is becoming a hallmark of multiple Ghanaian movies in English, the settings showed upper class Ghanaian families. Akesesɛm. Viewers were shown the Jaguar sign on the car twice as if to say there is a Jaguar in this car. Roar! It's hard to fathom why we feel we must show grandiose fashion, property and lifestyles in Ghanaian movies to show that we are producing great Ghanaian movies. It's one thing to make people aspire to such lavish lifestyles, it's another thing to paint pictures that are not reality. Besides, we can produce movies that show normal and unassuming Ghanaian settings and the films will shine in the quality of the scripting, setting, acting and use of things like music.

I wouldn't be giddy to watch this movie again and again. It's a good movie to enjoy with friends and in public but it's not a collectible in my opinion. The long speech at the end was a bit out of place though that scene brought the movie's story lines together. The memorable quotes give the movie a plus and there was enough comedy scripted in to make it thoroughly enjoyable. If you are looking a good night out, catch "House of Gold" when it is showing at a cinema near you.

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