MOVIE REVIEW: ‘Marikiti Women’ a delightful watch

Tuesday October 10 2017

On-screen chemistry between Tokodi and Kambua

On-screen chemistry between Tokodi and Kambua is insanely real. Hannah and Jonah are in love and have had a relationship for some time. PHOTO| COURTESY 

By BENSON MWANGI
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It is said where there are men nothing can go wrong but if Marikiti Women is anything to go by, where there are determined women, the happiness of their children will always prevail.

Marikiti Women is a fast-moving 60-minute film that is delightful to watch. Two best friends work in Marikiti open air market selling fruits and vegetables.

Their friendship, both at work and home is well developed as they haggle over the cost of cabbages, complain about bad tomatoes and put a few extra spoonful of sugar in their porridge peddled by Othis (Ochungo Obiero), the omena-porridge hawking friend and their chama member whom they mercilessly fine for late delivery of chama contributions.

Clearly, the two women have a strong bond and deep friendship, obviously single and ostensibly have each other for comfort in the little matters of life.

ON-SCREEN CHEMISTRY

WaHannah (Mary Nyambura) is the mother of a beautiful young woman, played by the photogenic, mellow gospel singer Kambua Manundu in her film acting debut.

Her performance is impressive as she takes over Hannah’s character naturally as if she has lived it before. WaJonah (Fidelis Nyambura) is the mother of Jonah, played by the talented Pascal Tokodi.

On-screen chemistry between Tokodi and Kambua is insanely real. Hannah and Jonah are in love and have had a relationship for some time.

They seem uneasy about how their mothers, who are bosom friends and constant serial tea guzzlers in WaHannah’s home, are going to take their relationship.

DELIGHTED MOMS

The two love birds are apprehensive but respectful and understanding about the full effect of their romantic adventure and what it portends for their mothers.

Jonah man’s up and commits to Hannah and they break the news to the two friends who take it well, particularly WaJonah who appear delighted at the damsel her son has caught for himself.

After getting to know the home of the bride ceremony (Kumenya mucii) is over Kuhanda Ithigi (planting a tree branch ceremony in preparation for the dowry negotiations) takes place.

DOWRY COUP

Jonah’s friend Bill cannot be found and Deno (Kieran Ratanya), a street-smart drunkard who makes Hannah apprehensive is entrusted with the part of the speaker.

Deno does well for himself and everything seem to progress towards the elaborate Gikuyu dowry negotiations.

WaHannah knows the financial condition of her friend WaJonah and does not want to put on her a financial burden she cannot carry.

The two uncles entrusted with negotiations on WaHannah’s behalf agree to stick to the list agreed but privately swear to make the most of their niece, their “prado”.

During the negotiations a new list with new demands comes up and it sets in motion a skirmish that spreads to all involved.

The negotiations are called off until the list of the demands is met as the two uncles engineer their dowry coup.

PALPABLE TENSION

One Gachanja (Koigi Ndungu), a typical village wag and talebearer who had invited himself to the ruracio peddles gossip by night, alerting WaJonah that the entire clan of her bosom friend has conspired against her.

They are plotting to fleece her dry. Her friend of 20 years? WaHannah? Really? A palpable building tension between two friends will get physical in the heart of the day at Marikiti.

Even the two lovebirds are not left out. A terse “babe, you’re too expensive for me. I can’t afford you” is loud and profound.   

Marikiti Women effectively brings out the obvious misuse of traditions by elders for financial gain at the expense of friendship and happiness of two people in love who only want to be with each other.

The conclusion, however, shows where there are determined women who love their children even corruption of norms cannot stand.

The hour-long film has an elaborate scene that reminds one of Dirk Nowitzki and Jessica Olsson’s reported interaction with the Gikuyu ruracio experience in July 2012.

5-6 girls were brought out covered and the hapless six-foot, Dallas Mavericks basketball superstar had to find his wife.

TASTEFUL EDITING

Marikiti Women is written and directed by Joan Kabugu. Produced by Sahihi Africa, it premiered on Maisha Magic East back in January.

One of the strengths of the film is the editing.

Most African productions are celebrated for having a great body but criticized for having a long neck. Marikiti Women, however, displays Christian Collins’ dexterous editing that balances the drama to tasteful proportions.

The film fuses together a seasoned cast and well-known names such as David Ng'ang'a as Uncle Simon, Joseph Muthaka as Uncle Joshua and Duncan Dunco as the marriage officiant and cabbage seller at the beginning of the film.