Sunday, May 7, 2017

Film Park [and Arsenal Cartoons]...

Tendo Sisters (TV series) Promo
From Benchmark Films in Arua Town to Bish Films in Muyenga (Kampala) to Maisha Film Lab in Buziga to Wakaliwood, Ugawood films keep rolling out non-stop! Gone are the days when we tried extremely hard to keep track of the latest Oceanic tales, Chinese Kungfu flicks, Japanese Yakuza and Samurai adventures, Bollywood musicals to Latin American soaps, West African epics to European sagas to South African masterpieces. Today, Ugandans are also working very hard to record more of their own stories for the silverscreen en masse with talented actors such as Joel Okuyo Atiku (alias Prynce), Maureen Nankya, Isaac Kuddzu, Joan plus many others though unlisted. Nevertheless, it is universally accepted that Hollywood rules because it is the standard and Most Widely Received Promotion of this artform. So I took some timeout to reflect on some foreign films that mention something about Uganda, may GOD uphold thee! We grew up on "Operation Thunderbolt", "Raid On Entebbe", "Rise and Fall of Idi Amin" and other Amin flicks but "The Last King of Scotland" resurrected the story of the misunderstood African giant for the younger generation and even won an Oscar in 2007 for Forest Whitaker (third African-American Best Actor) who played the role of the Ugandan president. Meanwhile, 7 Days In Entebbe brings a very Israeli feel to the whole Operation Thunderbolt saga by showing real world news footage from media archives and expands on the mission-planning process; two things I liked about the Amin character is his fluency in English and body size though not close match facially. When Amin expelled the Asians in 1972, some settled in America and "Mississippi Masala (1991)" tells a gripping story of one of those families. The daughter of the lead character befriends a nigga played by Denzel Washington who later became the second African-American to win an Oscar for Best Actor (in 2002 after Sidney Poitier made history in 1964), Youngest then at 37 but still the first Black with two Oscars (the other was for Best Supporting Actor in 1990 during his earlier training days around the time he worked on the same project with Indian-born Ugandanised American Mira Nair). Uganda is indeed the Pearl of Africa; fast forward to 2016 and here comes "Queen of Katwe" that features the fifth Blackwoman to win an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress (in 2014) though she's the first Mexican and Kenyan plus Youngest Black (at 25) to win an Oscar. Although Lupita Nyong'o descends from Kenya, she's still East African and so are the Ugandans portrayed in the movie. In fact, when the movie starts with Walt Disney's opening credits logo of a castle lit up by fireworks, you might think it is one of those translated VJ Jingo mastercuts because Bobi Wine's song with Nubian Li plays in the background instead of the usual Whiteman's music theme. Next you wait to hear stuff like: Katandika butandisi! Eyo ye Walt Disney Pictures abaleta Mickey Mouse ne Snow White, naye lero babaletera Queen of Katwe [Translated from Luganda: It is just starting! That is Walt Disney Pictures who produced Mickey Mouse and Snow White but today they bring you Queen of Katwe]. When you don't hear that, you settle in and try to enjoy the ride for what it really is, a spectacle thanks to Mira and her crew. Who said no, was that Timothy Kalyegira? Other Ugandan musicians whose songs feature in the movie include A-Pass (with three especially "Tuli Kubigere"), Afrigo Band (with two), Jose Chameleone, Radio & Weasel, Eddy Kenzo, Nsubuga Saava Karim plus Michael Kiwanuka. Halle Berry, the first Blackwoman to win an Oscar for Best Actress (though for her role in a different movie) plays a superhero named Storm in the X-Men series. Within the Marvel Universe, Storm originates from Kenya and is the wife of Black Panther who happens to be the King of Wakanda. I don't know why but something tells me Wakanda must be Uganda based on the rhyme in the names (if not then Rwanda or both together) and the shape of its map in some comics even though Ta-hesi Coates, one of the contemporary writers of latter day BP comics hints that his storylines are inspired by West African tribes. Despite being East African, the national language in Wakanda is Wakandan plus Yoruba which is Nigerian. Well, Wakanda is a fictional landlocked country in Equatorial East Africa somewhere in the middle of Narobia, Uganda, Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia. Black Panther's father is named T'Chaka which sounds Zulu-ish from Down South and it throws me back to the Ngoni Tribe who migrated northwards to Tanzania because of the real King Shaka, British plus Boers according to the African History I studied in S5 but lets not forget some Kenyans like calling us Waganda, which rhymes again! Storm must have been hitched to a neighbour. If my assumptions are dead wrong, at least Ayo, one of the Black Panther's female bodyguards in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is played by a Ugandan woman. W'Kabi, Black Panther's Best Friend is played by a London-born Ugandan, oops! That character name itself sounds so Ugandan, it reminds me of a very kind, carefree Classmate in the early 90s with a similar name, he was half Musoga, half Asian probably Arab and loved Transformers pencils. Yali wakabi [Translated from Lusoga: He was kick-ass]! Black Panther (the Marvel Studios film) premiered on Valentine's Day 2018 and some scenes were actually filmed in Uganda, specifically the great Mountain Rwenzori and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Uganda has never qualified for the FIFA World Cup but I wonder what our flag was doing at the Quidditch World Cup portrayed in "Harry Potter 4: The Goblet of Fire (2005)". Also in "Edge of Tomorrow (2014)", at the entrance of the building where Tom Cruise had to meet up with other soldiers in the resistance is the Ugandan flag next to a few others. Okay I know we have bigshots in the UN, Sam Kutesa, and Uganda is a member of the Security Council, AMISOM, blah blah blah, but Ugandans fighting aliens, really? Heeheehee, my childhood friends would have abused me if I told them that it's possible even as a movie only. Let me whisper to you something: There might be aliens in the Somali War; The Devil is involved in some attacks, Elvis Mbonye type of speech! That's my Minority Report from a Dreamvision before one dawn in 2017 for one of the Bomb Blasts, confirmed the news on Aljazeera around midday during waking life. Even romantic comedies mention Uganda eg "Admission" about Princeton University recruitment; forget that there is a map on the wall where you see the name, it can happen in many movies, but one of the standout characters mentions that he originated from Uganda. There is a lot more alluding to Uganda including "Casino Royale" in the 007 James Bond franchise and "Hard Target" but I'll stop here, no more spoilers! I'm not Butabika-crazy [as in azaza in Lugbara], even if naysayers say so but the future of filmmaking looks bright for UG...

[Arsenal Cartoons]
Welcome to the Arsenal Cartoon Forest! Below is a Plethora of Caricatures drawn by Aiko (Cartoonist), a Diehard AKB (Arsene Knows Best) Gooner from Uganda since the 1998 FA Cup Final; Victory through Harmony; Win, lose or draw, Arsenal is the Best! Cheers...

Arsenal Cech-mates Deeney at The Emirates...
Sunday 11th March 2018 (Mother's Day): [ARSENAL 3, Watford 0] Like Steve Bould - a Central Defender - the First Scorer of an Arsenal Home Goal in 1992, Shkodran Mustafi scored Arsenal's 1,000th Home Goal in the EPL from Oezil's 50th Premiership Assist (The Fastest 50 since Manchester United's Number 7 - Eric Cantona in the 90s); Henrikh Mhkitaryan (Arsenal's Number 7 from Man Utd) characteristically played a low Pass through the Defence for Pierre Emerick Aubameyang to run on to and round the Keeper for the second - his third Arsenal Goal in five Games which he celebrated with his Trademark Somersault for the first Time; Troy Deeney missed a Penalty for Watford a Minute later, saved by Petr Cech for the first Time in the EPL since 2011 at Chelsea and when he joined Arsenal in 2015 to finally keep the Record-extending 200th Clean Sheet he had waited for since December 2017 (The Next Best Goalkeeper retired with 169 Clean Sheets) while Auba returned the Favour in the 77th Minute by assisting Mhki for Arsenal's third and the Armenian's first Premiership Goal, also his first at the Emirates though second as a Gunner having scored three Days before in the Europa League at the San Siro wearing Shirt Number 77...

Thierry (1st Season)
The English Premier League between 1999-2007 was a Period of great Passion for Arsenal Fans courtesy of Thierry (Daniel) Henry, the Most Electrifying Gunner brought in by Arsene Wenger who also joined in 1996...

Arsene Wenger finally defeats Jose Mourinho in the Premiership...
Sunday 7th May 2017: [ARSENAL 2, Manchester United 0] The Gunners beat Jose Mourinho for the first Time in the Premiership thanks to goals from Granit Xhaka (a long Range Cracker off a Defender's Back) and Danny Welbeck's replicant Header reminiescent of Thierry Henry's Injury Time Winner from a Decade behind during the first Arsenal v Man Utd Match at the Emirates that ended 2-1. It was nevertheless the second Time The Gunners had beaten Mourinho having clinched the 2015 Community Shield against Chelsea two Years behind courtesy of an Alex Oxlade Chamberlain lone Goal...

Onduparaka 4, SC Villa 3
The Most Successful Club in Ugandan Football scored first, then the Newcomers from Arua crawled back scoring three through Caesar [Samson] OKHUTI, Wahab Ajuman GADDAFI [Gadinho] and the current Azam Uganda Premier League Top Scorer Muhammad Shaban IJAGASON. The KLA City Visitors who moved back to Masaka Recreational Ground this Season fought back from 3-1 down until they equalised via a Penalty netted by Tabu Vitalis [a former Onduparaka Captain] but Ijagason had the Last Laugh with his second of the Game. The Match took place on Saturday 1st October 2016 a few Minutes north of Arua City at Betway Greenlight Stadium, aka Paruku Stadium [Valley of No Return]; official Home of Onduparaka FC. They couldn't be bullied by the Jogoos. A Week before, Ondu had handcuffed Police FC 2-1 on the same Ground [with Goals by Ijagason and Messi]; Weeks earlier 2016 Defending Champions KCCA FC lost to the Caterpillars by the same Score. They are like a new Discovery attracting lost Fans back to UG Soccer as it was in the Past; some even miss (English FA) Premiership to watch them. Three Days prior to Ondu ending Villa's Unbeaten Run of the Season, FUFA cleared 26 Year old Caesar Okhuti [You can call him "Sizza"] to play for the Northwesterners who are now 5th on the Table; he was on a six Month Loan from KCCA since the Middle of September. The quick-footed, ambidextrous Player is my Favourite Uganda Crane of All-Time from West Nile and he knows about being a Newcomer having been one in 2007 with Ediofe Hills FC, also from Arua where he made a Name for himself and was called up to the National Team. Despite playing for 2010 League Champions Bunamwaya [now Vipers FC] plus in Vietnam and South Sudan, personal Issues almost ruined his Career but he returned to help Ondu gain Promotion in the Ugandan Big League plus headed in the winning Goal in the December 2015 Record-extending 14th CECAFA Triumph for Uganda in Ethiopia [where he featured with the impressive Farouk Miya] after signing for Express FC, Uganda's Oldest Club established in 1957. I've been a Mukwano Gwabanji Fan since the early 90s in Bukoto but always feel happy when a Team from Arua shines, just like Arua Young Stars did in the Past. I used to watch Nile FC Players train even near Home as a Kid in Jinja but never really followed them; my Father was part of their Management Team when they won the 1980 Championship four Years before I was born. Onduparaka FC was the only UPL Team Unbeaten at Home in 2017 but the following Season, SC Villa became the First Team to defeat Onduparaka at their Arua Home (0-1) on Saturday 10th March 2018 four Years since Nebbi United beat them before the Top Flight. The Caterpillars consequently parted ways with their Head Coach Livingstone Mbabazi. Nevertheless, the Ondu Paraka [Lugbara for: Sorghum Stem] keeps rising! It's not only a Struggle but also Fate: enjoy the Victories and pray the Blips do not last long! #Oriyo [No Fear]