Things Fall Apart

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"He won the game. Now he must fight the battle."
  • 2012

Things Fall Apart is a Nigerian drama film directed by Mario Van Peebles and released in 2011. The movie is an adaptation of the novel of the same name, written by Chinua Achebe in 1958. The film tells the story of Okonkwo, a wealthy and proud man from an Igbo village in Nigeria, who strives to prove his masculinity and strength in a society that values these traits above all else.

The movie opens with a vibrant depiction of the Igbo community, where Okonkwo is a respected member. He has three wives and several children, and he is known for his wrestling prowess, his hard work, and his ability to bring in abundant harvests. However, Okonkwo is haunted by the memory of his father, a lazy and weak man who died in debt, and he is determined not to follow in his footsteps.

The first act of the movie establishes Okonkwo's character and his place in the society. We see him participating in wrestling matches, engaging in debates with his fellow men, and exerting his authority over his family. However, we also see his flaws and vulnerabilities when he beats his second wife during the Week of Peace, an act that goes against the village's rules and traditions.

The second act of the movie introduces several conflicts that test Okonkwo's values and beliefs. The arrival of European missionaries and colonial administrators disrupts the traditional way of life of the Igbo people, as they impose their religion, culture, and laws on the indigenous population. Okonkwo is initially resistant to the changes, but he eventually joins a group of rebels who attempt to drive the intruders away. However, their efforts are futile, and Okonkwo is arrested and humiliated by the white men.

The third act of the movie shows the consequences of Okonkwo's actions and his tragic downfall. He returns to his village after serving a punishment in exile, only to find that everything has changed. His fellow men have submitted to the new order and have abandoned their ancestral gods and rituals. Okonkwo's closest friends and allies have betrayed him, and his own son has converted to Christianity. Okonkwo becomes increasingly isolated and desperate, and he ultimately takes a drastic and irreversible action that leads to his downfall.

The movie is a powerful portrayal of the clash between tradition and modernity, and the human cost of colonialism and cultural imperialism. It explores themes such as masculinity, family, honor, identity, and resistance, and it offers a nuanced and complex view of the Igbo culture and its people. The cinematography and the music enhance the film's immersive and emotional impact, and the acting is superb, especially by the lead actor, portraying Okonkwo.

In conclusion, Things Fall Apart is a poignant and insightful movie that does justice to Chinua Achebe's classic novel. It captures the spirit and essence of the Igbo culture and its struggle to maintain its integrity and dignity in the face of external threats and internal conflicts. The movie is a must-see for anyone interested in African history, literature, and cinema, and it is a testament to the enduring relevance of Achebe's vision.

Things Fall Apart
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