Another GhanaBlogger Emmanuel Kumah in his Personal Development Blog recently posted 5 Reasons You Shouldn't Watch Ghanaian Movies.
Here are those reasons:
1. They are not intellectually stimulating.
2. They include the use of foul or abusive language
3. It makes you poor
4. You watch others get rich
5. There is exposure to intense nudity
It this last point that makes me cite this blog this weekend. Upon reading that point and seeing a picture of the exposed backside of Majid Michel that accompanies it, a few directors (who double up as their own/ each other's producers) came to mind. Number 1 is Socrates Safo. I've not known myself to have seen a title of his that I haven't felt disgusted by, or immense pity for the people of West Africa. It's funny that this blog comes up now, because I recently read an article detailing a letter that Socrates wrote to a Ghanaian newspaper accusing them of slander and ruining his reputation. He threatens the possibility of a law suit against the paper. I would love for him to do so. I think enough of us GhanaBloggers could garner support for the paper who are just saying it as they see it.
Socrates Safo's films are pornography pure and simple. They wouldn't even make it onto the BBC before midnight. They're not "watershed" type movies that you might be able to show after 9pm, they are 2am type movies that one might watch because they have insomnia and cant find the remote. He, as a director and producer, is a joke and disgrace to the Ghanaian film industry and his actors, I feel, are much worse. They have the power to put directors like him out of business but they choose to chase the money rather than the art of acting. These actors try to fool us that they're are true artists in the field because they are able to convince their audience that they were really in the moment in each scene. What they refuse to recognise is that the Ghanaian population believe that so and so is having an affair with so and so following a movie because a) historically our storytelling has been based on fact (or at least we are susceptible to thinking things are as they appear) and b) in our culture a guy and girl spending so much time with each other means somethings going on (ok that's not necessarily true but whatever).
Like Emmanuel says in his blog, people take the things they see and hear in these films to heart, they believe that this is how they are expected to behave too. Therefore, they see constant portrayals of relationships as solely based on sex and money and they create that type of network around them. The characters constantly show disrespect for each other and for their elders and this is emulated by Ghana's youth.
I guess my main problem is not aimed at these so-called directors or actors. My problem is the regulation of this industry. There is not certification system or regulation on a films distribution. There's no top shelf or back room for a perverted adult to access these titles. Instead they are sold amongst the family friendly titles, shown in front of children, glamourised by big premieres in the county's number 1 cinema. This is unacceptable. There should be regulation on how many of these types of films can be produced each year, financial punishment for producers/directors and actors who flounce these rules. There should be regulation on who distributes these films, how and where, and they should not be allowed to be nominated in the the group of normal films in the GMAs.
But until action like that is brought in through law created by parliamentarians, and until violation of such rules becomes a criminal offence, I would agree with Emmanuel, don't waste your life watching Ghanaian movies, send out a message to the industry that Ghanaians inside and outside of the country will not tolerate what we are seeing now. Let Socrates understand that it isn't slander from the newspaper that is killing his reputation, but it is actually his own actions, his own films that people are coming to see for what they are - trash.
although I find Agya Koo movies to be hilarious and he too is campaigning against the disgusting films permeating the industry, so maybe we support him still and watch his movies! :D