Omoni Oboli's sequel is relevant to our times

"Wives on Strike: The Revolution" is not the most sound criticism of domestic violence, nevertheless, it is relevant and occasionally funny.

As the title of her latest work suggests, "Wives on Strike: The Revolution" is a sequel to her popular film of 2016, continuing the story of some market women who unite for a cause.

Want some sex? Then speak up against domestic violence - That's the rallying call in "Wives on Strike: The Revolution."

In the original movie, a group of market women decide to deny their husbands sex in a bid to stir them into speaking up against child brides.

The sequel follows the women's fight against domestic violence after one of them was beaten to death by her husband. As usual, they decide to embark on a sex strike in a bid to get their husbands to speak up against the act.

We don't know if, how and when the sex strike takes off on a global scale, but the women eventually get the attention of the powers that be.

It is a vital piece of art that attempts to take on an issue that is imperative. According to Lagos State’s Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team, between January and September 2017, a total of 852 cases of domestic violence and related cases were recorded just in the state.

Exhibiting Oboli's usual mixture of humour, melodramatics and life lessons, "Wives on Strike: The Revolution" is one that Oboli's target audience will happily devour.

The film stars remarkable actors such as Oboli, Kenneth Okonkwo, Elvina Ibru, Odunlade Adekola, Sola Sobowale, Toyin Aimakhu, Julius Agu, Chioma Chukwuka, Uche Jombo, Ufuoma McDermot, who hold Oboli's vision together, bringing life, energy and humour to their characters, even when the jokes feel too over-the-top or recycled.

The fun of "Wives on Strike" is watching it with an engaged audience that cracks up whenever Odunlade, Aimakhu or Sobowale comes on screen.

The men in "Wives on Strike," of course, are miserable. But not enough to earnestly speak up against domestic violence. They are more concerned about their sexual frustration, so they woo, coax and buy gifts in an attempt to unlock those chastity belts, but the women hold fast.

There is something empowering about these women taking action to achieve a particular purpose. In this unusual kind of empowerment, the women are powerful enough to change the society, but only by changing the men. And they are only capable of changing these men by intimidating them sexually.

As a concerned viewer, the pertinent question that keeps clamouring for an answer is this: Is the denial of sex the only effective way to get men to react positively to the societal issues that affect women? Why do we still think sex is an act enjoyed by just men?

As if domestic violence isn't plot enough for one film, Oboli who wrote and directed the film dabbles into not just domestic violence but child bride, cheating spouses, politics, women empowerment and anything else that seemingly fits.

And by its third act, the movie has made its point a thousand times over and becomes more about disconnected laughs and men's 'obsession' with sex than a creative response to domestic violence.

At its best, "Wives on Strike: The Revolution" is educative and funny. At its worst, it is reductive, repetitive, and treats domestic violence as a hobby that one can casually choose not to participate in, as is the case with Chigurl and Odunlade's characters.

"Wives on Strike: The Revolution" may not be the most sound criticism of domestic violence, nevertheless, it is relevant and occasionally funny.

"Wives on Strike" is currently showing in cinemas nationwide.

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