15 minutes that turned Lupita into Cinema gold

05:24 by Kaggwa Andrew
Being Ugandan is such a funny thing; you don't need to be hyper or exotic to enjoy the highlife and, in the same way, you don't have to know things to comment about them.
Last week, when Lupita Nyong'o won the Oscar for best supporting actress, I caught many people celebrating her win and giving a detailed account of how heart-wrenching her depiction of Patsey was. I confided in a friend that I had indeed never watched 12 Years A Slave, and it was supposed to be a secret since I didn't want to sound backward.
Butwhen she said, "Which planet are you living on if you have not watched that movie?" I made it a personal mission to watch it before the weekend.
I even read the online version of Northup's real 12 Years A Slave. The best time to catch a movie is always the half-price Tuesdays at Cineplex.
Inside the hall I was shocked by the full house of others that had also not watched Nyong'o's Patsey, and more shocking, infront of me was the friend who had earlier in the week asked if I was living in a cave to have missed this movie. Ugandans!
The movie introduces us to Northup, a born-free black man portrayed by Ejiofor Chiwetel, living his life as a carpenter and part-time musician, tricked into a New York gig where he was drugged and sold into slavery.
After about 90 minutes without any sign of Nyong'o, some patrons started complaining that they had paid for the wrong movie,but that is when Northup causes trouble at the plantation and is sold to a new master Edwin Epps (Michael Fessbender).
This is where we meet the young, strong and hardworking slave, Patsey. Despite Patsey having a remarkable gift for picking cotton quickly, she was one of the most abused slaves, because as Northup writes, she had become the "slave of a licentious master and a jealous mistress;" an "enslaved victim of lust and hate," with nothing delighting Mistress Epps more than seeing Patsey suffer.
Northup states that it was not uncommon for Mistress Epps to hurl a broken bottle or billet of wood at Patsey's face.
In his book, Northup describes one of the whippings that Patsey received as being "the most cruel whipping that ever I was doomed to witness...one I can never recall with any other emotion than that of horror."
It was during this whipping that Epps forced Northup to deliver the lashings. Many film critics believe it is this scene that promoted Lupita Nyongío from an ordinary Kenyan girl to an academy award winner.
Sadly, when Northup is released after 12 years of bondage in January 1853, Patsey called after him tearfully, hugged him and asked one of the most haunting questions: "What will become of me?"
The question remains unanswered since nothing was written about Patsey after that.
The movie ends fifteen or less minutes after Nyongío shows up - one of the fewest minutes I have seen an Oscar winner appear on screen. Fifteen strong minutes of gold.


Post a Comment