I was traversing the web for some info on Kobi Rana’s upcoming 3 Rounds and typical of Ghanaian productions, there wasn’t much by way of casting, production etc. news. There was, however, a one article damn near shaming the film’s poster which has real fit woman armed with a kitchen knife, clad in nothing but panties and murderous stilettoes standing over a cowered Rana who also stars in this film.
The article’s author was unimpressed with the sexploitative nature of the poster and it could be assumed he expects the film itself to tread a similar path. The film was in theatres for a flash so I didn’t get to see it, by the way. It’s 2015, the article’s author says, and Ghanaian filmmakers (some of them) are still pushing sex as their film’s selling point it continues.
To be honest that direction doesn’t really surprise as sexploitation has always featured prominently in our film industry. I have already noted on this blog how a lot of our films mirror the exploitation era circa 70’s. That said the author does have a point and there is a reason a film like Showgirls was an epic fail; the world of cinema has largely left that brand off sexism in the dark ages where it belongs (and porn is freely available so no one wants to pay for eroticism anymore). Decades ago there were interesting stories of filmmakers who were forced to shoe in some bits of erotic nudity and sex to guarantee some screening potential and Scorsese’s experience with his first film, I Call First/Who’s That Knocking at My Door comes to mind but we all like to think the film cultures are shying away from this as far as women are concerned although I feel like men are being shopped around a little too much and no one bats an eyelid.
I saw The Gunman, solid action film by the way, and there is this ridiculous scene post surf which serves no purpose in the film but to show how ripped Sean Penn had become (and boy was he looking good – no homo) and then there’s the news of Chris Hemsworth’s eye candy casting in the all-female Ghostbusters film and I can already picture the comic sexual harassment visited on him by Leslie Jones and Mellissa McCarthy. The point of “male” sexism will not be complete without the pointing out the Magic Mike films which are essentially Showgirls for women and there is that silent consensus that women were due “their time” in theatres and enjoy themselves they did. Magic Mike XXL is around the corner ladies so go on and have some fun. I guess what I’m saying is after the actual horrid sexism women face everywhere I think it’s okay for men to take this L on the gender politics spectrum.
Have I digressed from the original point on Rana’s 3 rounds? A little but it’s because I still can’t really pinpoint why we still dabble in 70s era trends. Our filmmakers have never proven intelligent and edgy enough to push beyond mere sexploitation and Ghanaian society probably isn’t prepared to accept potentially edgy films (and look back at how The brilliant Wolf of Wall Street was treated down here) so I guess some part of Rana’s ilk expects horny guys who haven’t discovered porn to troop to cinemas to experience petty innuendos like pubescent boys which won’t happen.
Then again I haven’t seen the film and I wonder of the author of the article bothered to but Rana may manage to deliver some compelling edgy work so we’ll see and bear in mind there is some paradox undercutting the shot of the topless woman holding a man on a leash but then again she is needlessly topless. On the general sexploitation point, you could say a lot of our films are filmed on the thematic spectrum of music videos (in THAT generic way) only stretched out for 90 plus minutes. That’s my simple theory and whilst Anaconda may generate millions of hits for Nicki Mnaj’s trunk in a 3-minute video no one is going to turn up for 3 Rounds because there’s a girl with a nice bum ripe for objectification on the promotion poster.
It is worth pointing out the fact that women dominate the highest tier of Ghanaian films which negates sexism to some extent although I am mindful of the fact that the works of Leila Djansi, Shirley Frimpong – Manso and Vero Quarshie (who’s been absent for a good minute) are only a fraction of the industry but I truly do cherish that fact that these successful trailblazing women have a vice grip on the top strata Ghanaian film.
Jocelyn Dumas is racing to the top of her trade and I can’t say I’ve seen her attractive hips shopped around in the name of promoting a film which is a great thing to say about poster productions for Ghanaian cinema however, it would be naïve to think that was all the industry needed to overcome certain levels of objectification. Bear in mind that question of the casting or lack thereof of actresses over a certain age undercuts our industry and is an even bigger problem for me than a faceless bum on a film poster.
Sexploitation will continue to pervade our B-movie culture for the near future till we can start to afford some good CGI and maybe shift to some B-movie CGIxploitation fare but in the meantime, what can we really do about Kobi Rana and his ilk?
By: Delali Adogla-Bessafirstname.lastname@example.org/Ghana