As Hercules is to the Greeks, so has Francis Xavier Ngannou become to the Cameroonians. From his conquests in the UFC to his outstanding performance at his debut match in boxing, Ngannou’s strength is nothing short of legendary. After his fight with Tyson Fury, he did not emerge winner, yet he has become a household name in Cameroon and Africa as a whole. It therefore goes without surprise that Cameroonian film icon, Kang Quintus chooses to direct and release a movie titled “Nganu.” At a glance, one would expect that the movie should be a word-for-word dramatic representation of the boxing legend, Francis Ngannou’s, life. However, instead of being a classic rags-to-riches story, the intriguing and infotainment-filled movie is an immortalization of the ideologies behind Ngannou’s legendary career. From its unique setting to its diverse cast, and its use of undiluted Cameroonian Pidgin English, the movie is one, that leaves the audience wanting for more.
About the movie
Like one of his most renowned works “The Fisherman’s Diary,” this K. Quintus movie also centers on the importance of the child. However, while the former focuses primarily on the value of girl child education and clearly condemns early and forced marriages, “Nganu” lays emphasis on the drastic consequences of broken homes, and verbal and physical assault on the lives of children.
The protagonist of the movie, Nganu, is the only son of a physically violent man and an abusive husband. Nganu grows up seeing his father beat his mother on a daily basis. This constant exposure to domestic violence starts breeding in him a raging storm. On one of such occasions where his father literally pounds the mother’s face with a pestle, Ngannu, in anger, kills his father. Unfortunately for him, even the mother doesn’t survive due to the injuries, which had been inflicted on her by her husband. The little angry boy, Nganu, grows up into a traumatized and violent man who eventually becomes an abusive husband and father; and indulges in drug abuse as a coping mechanism. Just as his mother suffered at the hands of his father, so too does his wife, Meukeuna, suffer at his hands. Their son, Kum, grows into a mini version of his father, a lifestyle that eventually leads to his death.
It is obvious that this Kang Quintus movie addresses some of the most plaguing contemporary issues in Cameroon and the world as a whole. However, its approach is quite outstanding, as it tackles these problems from their root cause, broken homes. Still, this is not the only distinguishing factor of the movie. Unlike most of his predecessors and contemporary storytellers, Kang Quintus doesn’t tell a story about an Africa wallowing in poverty, drug abuse, mental health problems, and violence alone. Rather, he mirrors Africa as a people with an agency, a people who know the value of solidarity, and a people who are capable of psychological progress and self-discipline.
The fact that the movie does not only show the problems which arise from domestic violence and broken homes but also includes a clear display of the value of parental love and good upbringing is evidence of the movie’s crew’s commitment to shifting the African narrative.
Again, the quality of this Cameroonian blockbuster can clearly be seen from the fact that it is the 5th of the only five Cameroonian movies available on the global movie streaming giant Netflix.
Notwithstanding the movie’s excellent qualities and relevant soundtracks, which accompany the intriguing scenes, the translation from Cameroonian Pidgin English to the American variety of the English Language could have been better.
The secret behind the movie’s diverse cast
“ Ngannu” is a story acted out by entertainers from different angles of Cameroon. The cast does not only include professional and debuting actors but features Cameroonian music figures such as Ko-C and a host of comedians like the late Cabrel N. This combination of; raw, refined, and diverse talents is a good recipe for engaging content.
A take-home lesson for Cameroon’s entertainment figures and artists from this movie’s cast is the undisputed power of collaboration amongst the country’s content creators to encourage the consumption of Cameroonian content in and out of the country.
Briefly, this movie, which now ranks as one of the #top10 movies on Netflix and #top 4 on Netflix in Nigeria, is a must-watch. However, the unpredictable storyline and unanticipated end is one that touches the heart, so while you grab some popcorn, be sure to grab lots of tissue paper too, then sit back and enjoy this exciting content. Ashia for cry, in advance.