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Living in Bondage returns 27 years after with ‘Breaking Free’

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Chris Odeh, Shawn Faqua, Kenneth Okonkwo, David Jones David, Dotun Olakunri.

The Filmhouse, Oniru Lagos was packed full on Wednesday, October 30, as Play Network hosted the official premiere and press screening for the long awaited Nollywood blockbuster, Living In Bondage: Breaking Free.

The special screening, which had handpicked guests made up of movie critics and journalists, is part of the film’s production and release cycle best advantage.

Written by Nicole Asinugo and C.J. Obasi, the movie, which was co-produced by award-winning producer, Steve Gukas, Dotun Olakurin and Charles Okpaleke, stars Kenneth Okonkwo (Andy Okeke), Kanayo. O. Kanayo (Chief Omego) and Ramsey Nouah, who directed and took on the role of the powerful yet flamboyant villain, Richard Williams).

It also stars Bob-Manuel Udokwu (Mike), Enyinna Nwigwe (Obinna Omego), Swanky JKA (Nnamdi Okeke), Nancy Isime and Munachi Abii among others. The movie, which has an original score produced by Larry Gaaga that features A-list Afro beat artistes is due for release nationwide on Friday, November 8.

Without showing a flashback scene, as it’s the case with most Nollywood sequels, Obasi and Asinugo, not taking away from the Kenneth Nnebue and Okechukwu Ogunjiofor’s plot for ‘Living in Bondage 1 & 2,’ reminded fans of flick (old and new) the story of Andy Okeke and Merit Okeke (played by Nnenna Nwabueze), the wealth, occultism and the stigma.

From the opening montage that sees Obinna Omego driving a little girl into a thick forest to behead her, ‘Living in Bondage: Breaking Free’ sets an unusual pace that keeps the viewers mind racing back to the events that made the 1992 blockbuster a hit.

Then come Nnamdi Okeke and his pal at a nightclub trying to live the life of opulence they only dreamt about but were only thrown out just after making a mess of their ‘fake-it-till-you-make-it’ belief.

Despite the shame, Nnamdi remained unrelenting with his untamed quest for quick money, fast car, easy living. He finds comfort in his cousin, Tubi Nworie (played by Shawn Faqua), who urges him to believe in his abilities.

Not long after he reunited with High Chief Omego, his desire for a good life became a reality and his path crossed with Richard Williams, the stylish and flamboyant leader of a global cult, who became his mentor and later his albatross.

Prior to the screening, movie fans on social media had expressed excitement following the intriguing trailer for the remake of 1992 Nollywood classic movie. The two-part classic drama then directed by Chris Rapu and produced by Kenneth Nnebue and Okechukwu Ogunjiofor was pivotal to birthing modern-day Nollywood.

Speaking with The Guardian shortly after the screening, the Executive Producer, Dotun Olakurin stated that a lot has gone down in Nigeria’s socio-political scene as well as the entertainment world between 1992 and 2019. He added that several events have shaped the existence of the average Nigerian youth who was born 27 years ago.

He said, “If you watch Living In Bondage in the 90s, you will know that it is a very powerful story everybody in Nigeria can relate to at some point or the other. What we have done is run the same powerful story into the current times and you can relate to it just as well if not more.”

“It brings in all the issues we deal with in Nigeria of today in way that we can relate with comfortably and happily. It’s like saying you have Mercedes of the 90s and Mercedes of nowadays. For us it is a child of the child — that a story of the previous story,” Olakurin added.
‘Living In Bondage: Breaking Free without a doubt will enlightened a handful of viewers that it’s almost impossible to break free from a covenant with the occults while relishing in the wealth gotten from being a member.

While the writers may have painted Richard Williams as a devil bent on retrieving the debt of the Okeke clan, they also, notably give a hint of another plot, which might make the flick the first sequential trilogy.

The movie is a perfect way for Ramsey Nouah to announce his directorial debut. According to some movie critics, it is a game-changer that will set the pace for how sequels should be treated and executed going forward in Nollywood.


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