Crushed Roses is a tale of two friends whose feelings fail to meet halfway; although they get their hearts in the right place, their timing is inaccurate. Zainab (Toluwanimi Osaile) and Wale (Temilolu Fosudo) are best friends: Wale is the handsome playboy, “God’s favourite creation” as Zainab describes him and all the ladies want him. Being his best friend and poet, she is an important ally in his romantic conquests, a wingman (wing woman if you please). She writes heart-stealing poetry and delivers gifts for Wale. They work in tandem with each other, inseparable, looking out for each other and completing each other’s thoughts. Like a well-oiled machine, they function well together and look so together too, so well that they create public misconceptions— “she’s always at his place”, “she’s always glued to him”, “somebody’s heart will break”.
Like most platonic intergender relationships, problems start when one party starts to want more, a reality the other party might not be ready for yet. God’s favourite creation is a wanted man and Zainab wants him too. “Maybe we should define our relationship”, she asks, and he laughs it off. She is heartbroken. It’s too late when Wale realises what he has lost. She has moved on (has she?). He is heartbroken. They bruise and crush each other.
With a runtime of 17 minutes, Crushed Roses is well shot, in an unfamiliar style, almost like a silent film. It is very minimally scored, we only hear the dialogue and the music doesn’t come till later. The director, Taiwo Egunjobi (In Ibadan), is able to capture the essence of the plot by making us focus on the story alone by eliminating other film aesthetics that might have aided or distracted us. This way we are left to fill the gaps with our imagination. Heavily laced with poetry and metaphor, the script— penned by Isaac Ayodeji (Dwindle), based on an Ibiere Addey’s novelette—is principally written in Zainab’s voice with dialogue coming in when needed, punctuating the narration perfectly.
Temilolu Fosudo (In Ibadan) and Toluwanimi Osaile (All Na Vibes) give good performances. Although it may seem like they don’t have to do much because of the minimal dialogue, it is actually a tough task to act without it because there are no words to guide your action. Toluwanimi’s voice acting is excellent, conveying the mood and tone of the film. Okwong Fadamaner, handling the cinematography, delivers beautifully framed shots that not only make it pleasing to watch but also aid the story efficiently. It is stated in the synopsis that the story is set in the 90s, although it does not seem otherwise, it could have passed for any period in time, at least any period the University of Ibadan was in existence.
This is a short film everyone should enjoy, not just for the story but also for every other aspect of it. It’s good to see Nigerian filmmakers experiment with other methods of filmmaking, it promotes growth and inspires other creatives to try new things.
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- Shout out to Theatre Arts Library.
- Shout out to Theatre Arts Gs.
- They served each other breakfast. Life is give and take innit? 😁
- Wale Olosho! (Guys can be slutshamed right? Right?😑)
- Always be wary of that ‘boring’ guy.
Crushed Roses screened at The African Film Festival, Dallas.