Ake, the yet to go on sale film adaptation of Wole Soyinka’s famous childhood book, was screened recently in Bristol, England, with enthusiastic audience responses.
A viewer, Dammaris Le Grand commented that the film “was very true to the book and respectful of the book and Soyinka’s spirit.
“It was a wonderful depiction of a way of life at a particular moment in time and the cast seemed infused with joy for the project”.
He also said, “I found Ake a delightful and funny film. It captured the intensity of Wole’s childhood as it unfolded in one small drama after another. It took me into a delightful distant world that was gently framed by local and world political events.”
Two “ex-west Africans” who attended the screening, Barbara Ryder, a former instructor at the University of Ibadan International School and widow of Alan Ryder, formerly a professor at the History department, University of Ibadan, with Silu Pascoe of part Ghanaian heritage was highly elated especially about the second part of the film.
“We very much enjoyed the AGS and women’s revolt sections.
“We are sure that the film will have its home audiences raising the roof towards the end of the film. This is partly because of the subject-writer, but it is also a reflection of the crisper composition of episodes.”
James Gibbs, well known critic of African literature and a personal friend of Soyinka who retired from the University of the West of England as a Professor of English said,
“Several of the children in the cast act with commitment and conviction and the two youngest boys playing Soyinka, the brothers Oluwafunbi and Mofiyinfoluwa Oladele are quite outstanding. From them we get a sense of what an inquisitive and, at times, infuriating child, the future Green Card destroyer was.”
James Gibbs also said,
“Among the older actors, I would single out Olanike Onimisi Bennet (Eniola Soyinka), and Yinka Davies (Mrs Ransome-Kuti , a k a Beere). Bennet brought to the screen a combination of smiles, strength and severity that made her a credible mother for the remarkable writer, and Davies, who, when appropriately bespectacled, bears an uncanny resemblance to ‘Beere’, played her role with accomplished authority.

“As might be expected of an author whose first calling was to the theatre, some of the characters in Soyinka’s memoir wandered onto the pages of Aké while managing to keep one foot on the stage. I am thinking here of, for example, Pa Adatan and Madam Amelia who were brought alive in style by veteran actors Jimi Solanke and Taiwo Ajai-Lycett.”