Tuesday, September 26, 2006
Zazzabi: the Fever
(can't get the formatting to work to put captions under pictures--I am so useless at this...)
Produced by Auwalu Madaki
Directed by S.I. Belaz
Sa'a Entertainment, Kano, 2005
Starring: Mansura Isa, Sani Danja, Ibrahim Maishunku, Nura Imam, Shehu Hassan Kano, etc.
A doctor who has quarrelled with his eldest son and kicked him out of the house. The doctor's beautiful university-educated daughter, who attracts the attentions of two handsome young men. The spurned son who becomes a policeman. An AIDS test that comes out positive. A murder by strangulation. A dedicated investigator who interviews everyone involved. And a twist at the end that I did not expect.
And a rather amazing song and dance number full of double-entendre:
Part of the chorus that I can type fast enough to catch, with my very bad translation:
Zazzabi ciwo mai zafi, zazzabi ciwo mai zafi
Fever so hot, Fever so hot
Ciwon so, ciwon kauna, zazzabi shi ne a jikina.
Disease of love, disease of passion, it is what is in my body
Zazzabi ya zo jikina, Zazzabi ciwo mai zafi, ciwon so, ciwon kauna, zazzabi shi ne a jikina.
Fever has come to my body, Fever so hot, Disease of love, disease of passion, Fever is what is in my body.
The horribly sad and powerful thing that lingers after all the suspense is over is that in a very non-NGO sponsored way, this film raises questions about this fever that twists paths of love into paths of death. And the fever that overcomes those who are passionately in love can in another context be read as a fever that both come out of passion and makes consumation of future passions impossible. There are no great explanations of how the disease is acquired (although there are hints in one flashback), how it can be prevented, or how one should treat those with it, or oneself if one has it. The filmmakers seem to assume the audience will know all that--which they probably do. Departing from other representations of the disease that I've seen portrayed in Hausa film, the only death in this film is a murder, not a death via AIDS. There are no long suffering scenes, ending in a rattle the throat and a dropped hand. The filmmakers provide no answers, only "what ifs" and leave us with a tremble in a voice, a stricken face, as the chorus "Zazzabi, ciwo mai zafi, Ciwon so, ciwon kauna, zazzabi shi ne a jikina" returns and the credits roll.