Sometime in 2017, the news broke about Genevieve Nnaji’s directorial debut, Lion Heart.
This got fans excited, especially because of the crop of artiste involved in the project. After one year of wait, the movie premiered at TIFF 2018. And Netflix purchased rights to the movie which started showing on their platforms on January 4.
Before the debut on Netflix, Lion Heart hits some Nigeria cinemas on 21 December. This was after Nnaji called out the “powers that be” accusing them of refusing to distribute Lion Heart. Nnaji went ahead to say, “You are going to respect what I stand for which is art. You are going to respect where I came from which is Nollywood. You are going to learn to respect the talent. Period.”
It is safe to say that anyone who sees Lion Heart will respect Nnaji, her art and what she stands for.
Lion Heart starts with agberos protesting at the premises of Lion Heart, a transport company in Enugu. Adaeze Obiagu(Genevieve Nnaji), Lion Heart’s founder’s daughter comes out and manages the situation calmly. This is an attempt to show the leadership quality possessed by Adaeze. The execution, I must, however, question. The scene could have come off better.
The story unfolds. Adaeze realised that his father, Chief Ernest Obiagu (Pete Edochie) hands the reins of leadership to his younger brother, Goddy Obiagu(Nkem Owoh). Considering Adaeze’s efforts at the transport company, she gets disappointed. But then realises that she needs to work with Goddy if at all the company will be saved from the trouble it’s in. A trouble Chief Obiagu himself led the company into.
Lion Heart is a slow paced movie. This didn’t change even when the clock was introduced to heighten tension. Yinka Edwards proved himself as a worthy cinematographer with the clips taken. First, one won’t even believe that Enugu has such scenic values.
The acting was flawless and the characters well developed. I love that Phyno and Peter Okoye dabbled into acting. While I have no reservation for that, I, however, believe that the scenes at Arinze (Peter Okoye)’s house could have been better. Onyeka Onwenu has always joggled acting and music. As usual, she didn’t fail with her effortless acting.
The most beautiful thing about the movie is that it is relatable. As one of an Igbo decent, I can tell that the characters are just like my fathers, uncles, mothers, aunts, brothers, sisters and other relatives I have met in everyday life. The dining scene is the best scene in the movie. And reflective of what dining is like in most Igbo family that I know.
Lion Heart was able to bring actors of different ages and I dare say era together in one movie. Asides from ageism, Lion Heart explores the concept of patriotism showcasing how we as a people can excel as a country if we work together regardless of ethnicity. This was exemplified with the merger between Lion Heart and Maikano Motors.
The movie didn’t shy away from the discomfort people feel while dealing with people of other tribes as expressed by Chief Obiagu’s hesitation to do business with Alhaji Maikano and the cold reception during their first meet. Sexism was also explored in Lion Heart with the lead character Adaeze having to establish herself as qualified to lead Lion Heart as a female.
Lion Heart is a movie to see. I can make bold to say that Lion Heart is a classic. Well done, Genevieve Nnaji. Ji sị ike, nwaanyị ọma.