By Daisy Nandeche Okoti
Published August 27, 2014
A young woman wakes up in a hotel room with her hands, face and clothes covered with blood whose source she can’t tell. As hard as she searches her mind and examines her body whether she has any wound from which the blood is oozing, the more confused she gets. It doesn’t help much that she stumbles on a bloodied corpse in her own bathroom!
That is the beginning of a new 39-minute thriller film written, directed, edited and produced by Mark Maina Maingi of Nairobi that is set for release.
Set in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, and produced by M Green Film Production in collaboration with Richmond Entertainment, this film mainly employs suspense and flashback in delivering its message. This is demonstrated at the beginning of the film where the main female character—Julie—wakes up in a strange hotel room but can’t tell who she is, where she is or what’s going on around her; she does not utter a word until several minutes later into the film. This silence, which enhances the suspense in the film, captures and keeps the attention of the audience who are keen to see event as it unfolds.
As the woman’s memory returns, slowly, the events of the previous night are brought to her—and to the viewers—through flashback. She embroiders her own revenge.
Symbolism also plays a big role in the film. For instance, upon Julie’s opening her briefcase, secrets jump out, reminding her of what had happened and letting the audience in on those secrets that are better off buried than exposed.
“CONSIGNED TO OBLIVION is an opportunity to show off the new genres in movies that Kenyan filmmakers can tap into and increase both relevance and novelty in these fast changing motion pictures industry,” Maingi, holder of a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science, says of the second film to come from him. His first film, TOO LATE, was screened and discussed during Nairobi’s premier critical film platform: Lola Kenya Screen film screening, discussion and networking forum on April 28, 2014.
Maingi, whose nick name is Marcus, says CONSIGNED TO OBLIVION was inspired by PSYCHO, a 1960 crime thriller by Alfred Hitchcock in which everybody is obsessed with money for the wrong reasons. This, unfortunately, is a concern which has stubbornly stuck with the modern society today.
This film appears to have timeless lessons for today’s people whose password appears to be “Money makes the world go round” and therefore they are willing and ready to do anything to get the said money. The film appears to be cautioning society that there are things that cannot be undone after they have been done.
Through Faith Kibathi who plays Julie and Liz and Kevin Mugo who plays Nick, the film brings out the themes of greed, deceit and betrayal, the fodder from which great crime thrillers spring.
“I am exploring this story fully in a six-part mini-series,” Maingi, who is trying to introduce a new style of making films in the Kenyan film industry, says.
The young writer/director/editor and producer seems to have great ideas but the storyline—the storytelling—is rather weak. He starts on a sound footing but loses the sure steps or mixes himself up as he nears the end. Granted, his directing and editing skills bring out the vibrancy and the creativity that enrich the visual appeal of his movies—TOO LATE and CONSIGNED TO OBLIVION—especially in the opening sequences. His efforts would be complemented if he were to team up with an experienced screenwriter.
The key crew members include Maingi, Marvin Kariuki and Gikonyo Muguimi (Cinematographers), Ariel Gakunga (Production Designer) and Peter Wanjeri (Sound Director).
Additional reporting by Edwin Amoro and Dorcas Wanjau.