The scene begins with Elesin Oba(Odunlade) sorrounded by many beautiful women as he enjoys his fantasies the night to his ritual suicide.
The next day he is received with love and reverence by the village people as he goes to the market.He sights a very beautiful maiden and is instantly bessotted.He enquires from Iyaloja(Shaffy Bello) about the young lady.Iyaloja is confused about his utterances.He says she should not deny him of the chance to leave a seed after he is gone.
Iyaloja holds a meeting with the women and even though the young maiden is to be married to her son,she says the best thing is to give her to Elesin Oba.She speaks to the girl's family and her son to agree to what the ancestors want.
At the other side of the village,Constable Amusa(Jide Kosoko) rides to the house of the district officer,Mr Simon Pilkings to give report about the happenings in the village.
After he has left Mr Pilkings reads it and discovers that a chief will be committing "death".He asks their cook,Joseph, to explain it to him.Joseph says it is the destiny of the Elesin Oba to die 30 days after the King so that he can accompany him into the afterlife.
Mr Pilkings remembers Elesin Oba as a rough fellow.Apparently,he had to forcefully take his son,Olunde,abroad and train him to be a medical doctor against the wishes of his father.Mrs Pilkings is worried that this situation will make them miss the ball which the prince is attending tonight.Mr Pilkings says it wont and he instructs Joseph to deliver an order to Amusa immediately.
A wedding takes place that night between Elesin Oba and the maiden.Olunde appears in the village all suited up and asks what the celebration is for.He is told that his father is getting married and he is quite surprised.
Following Mr Pilkings orders,Amusa and two constables come to the village to arrest Elesin Oba(who is consumating his marriage).
The women headed by Iyaloja,stop them,mock them,beat them and drive them away.
Amusa comes to the ball and delivers a note to Mr Pilkings.However,the host of the ball reads it,calls Mr Pilkings aside and asks him to take care of the situation,insisting that there can't be a riot while the prince is around.
At the village,the King's dog is killed.The King's body is also paraded round the village in a solemn ritual process.The masquerades are performing their dancing rites and the Elesin Oba is at the market square preparing to die.
As Mr Pilkings takes his men to go to the village,Olunde comes to the ball room and asks Mrs Pilkings about her husband.Mrs.Pilkings is pleased to see him but Olunde is cold,blunt and sarcastic.He says he came to tell Mr Pilkings not to interfere with the culture of his people.
Mr Pilkings and his constables reach the market square,arrest Elesin(who puts up no resistance) and carries him away.The drummings stop.
At the ballroom,the drums stop and Olunde tells Mrs Pilkings that his father is now dead.She thinks he is being brutish until he replies that he came home to bury his father because he heard of the King's death a month ago and ever since then,he can not think of his father as being alive.
Mr Pilkings and the constables bring Elesin into the compound and suddenly Elesin bellows that they should get their hands of him.Olunde hears his father's voice and cannot believe it. Father and son meet briefly and Olunde is angry ,disappointed and ashamed of his father.He calls him Alatenuje and walks off.
They imprison Elesin in a cell in the garden while he and Mr Pilkings have a short interactive session.Olunde goes to the market square and finds it empty.Ominous music keeps playing in the background.
After their talk,Iyaloja visits Elesin and pours out words of scorn and pity for him.Elesin wants none of her pity because he knows he has failed his people.At some point she crosses a sand line and the guard blows a whistle which makes Mr Pilkings to lock Elesin up again.
A guard announces that a small peaceful but chanting crowd is coming in their direction.Mr Pilkings allow their procession and they drop a pallet containing a corpse down.They ask Elesin to tell the corpse the message he himself was supposed to tell to the king but Mr Pilkings will not let him step out of the cell.
Oluhun Iyo(Brymo) says harsh words to Elesin Oba for the last time and asks him "What is left?"
Elesin asks them to open the pallet so that he can send the message even if from a far distance.Iyaloja opens it and Elesin sees that it is his son,Olunde.
At this point,the shame and pain is too much for Elesin to bear and he uses his chains to hang himself before Mr Pilkings and the guards can unlock the cell to save him.
As the corpses of father and son lay side by side,Iyaloja announces that they should forget about the dead and the living and focus on the unborn.
The voice of Brymo delivers a musical masterpiece as the corpses of Elesin and Olunde are taken back to the village with a solemn funeral procession.
A true representation of Yoruba literature.Everyone played their role as best as they could and it was enough for me. Maybe with the exception of Iyaloja's son.One could argue that it was because he had no lines to say but I disagree because he wasn't the only one without a script.
I wish he could have used his facial expression more.
Odunlade who played the character of Elesin Oba was perfect in his delivery. However,I have an issue with the character of Elesin Oba himself.
I find it hard to understand why he didnt struggle when and after he was arrested only to start resisting when he had reached his cell house.
Maybe if he had shown some resistance,the villagers would have fought for him the way they fought off Amusa and the constables.
Olunde was quite the mysterious character. A man of few words..reserved and very sarcastic unlike his father who was a man of many words,extroverted and very clear but also crafty with words.
Mr and Mrs Pilkings also represented the european people of that period,who love to impose their culture on others while having total disregard for the culture of others.
Iyaloja said it well. So you will kill many people just to prevent the death of one person?(I'm paraphrasing here).
Olohun Iyo played by Brymo delivered well,even though his screen time was short.
The musical prints here and there,sorrounded by the beautiful indigenous language spoken through out the movie was very refreshing for me.The characters would speak and if you decided not to read the subtitles you would be able to read the emotions and gestures on their faces.
The bi-lingual exchange between Mr Pilkings and Elesin was quite funny to me at first.
I wondered wether Mr Pilkings understood Yoruba and was going to speak Yoruba back to Elesin. But the exchange made a lot of sense later on because asking Mr Pilkings to speak the language would be quite comical and asking the Elesin to speak English would dilute the tension that the movie was trying to pass at that moment.
In the end, both men were only trying to do their duty.One got distracted by the things of the world and wasted time .The other was committed and performed his duty swiftly.Unfortunately,both men failed.
Elesin Oba couldnt accompany the King.Mr Pilkings couldnt prevent Elesin Oba from dying.
In the words of the Olohun Iyo,
If you had followed when you should have,
we wont say the dog has raced and left the master behind.
If you had left at the appointed time,
we wouldn't now say that the horse has preceeded its rider.
Had you lifted up your spirit to cut the thread of life when the king summoned,
we would not now say it was your shadow that fell and took it's owners place at the feast.
Talk to your shadow now.
Speak to your shadow which must now serve in your place."
Again I say,Classic.