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ABFF 2012 Review: Leila Djansi’s Emotionally Rich, Thought-Provoking ‘Ties That Bind’

ABFF 2012 Review: Leila Djansi's Emotionally Rich, Thought-Provoking 'Ties That Bind'

If you have seen Leila Djansi’s Sinking Sands (see my review HERE), you would know that the ambitious filmmaker doesn’t shy away from female-driven, heavy and poignant themes that elicit intense emotions.

Among those recurring themes explored are gender roles, traditional marriage ideals, feminism, mental illness, loyalty, female bonds, community, African culture, stigmatization, religious/superstitious beliefs, subordination, sexual abuse.

This filmmaker knows drama, in a good way. Djansi proves it once again with Ties That Bind.

The film centers around three women: Buki (Ama Abrebese), Adobea (Omatola Jalade Ekeinde) and Theresa (Kimberly Elise). They all share the pain of losing a child.

The story, set in the village of Kroboland, Ghana, begins with Buki, the lovely and dynamic Abrebese. Buki is a doctor with plans to rebuild an abandoned house into a clinic, which the villagers claim to be hunted.

Buki encounters Adobea, a childhood friend, who is pregnant and unaware of her illness that causes her to cough up blood.  Adobea’s Husband’s family believes she’s cursed after the mysterious death of several of her children.  

Buki and her husband are seeking counseling for their marital troubles, stemming from their childless union. Their counselor Theresa (a wondrous Elise) has her own tale of woe; she let her husband take away her child, whom she hasn’t seen in years, after suffering from drug-addiction and post-partum depression 12 years ago. She is now working to reunite with her daughter with the help of a case investigator.

And so these women bond together and learn from each other’s experiences. Joined in solidarity, they learn to deal and accept their situations with courage and seek redemption. 

There’s much mysticism and supernatural elements to the story: is there really a ghost in the house? Are these women cursed? 

Ties may pose too melodramatic for some. Yes, there are scenes charged with intense sentimentality and hysteria. However, Djansi crafts complex female characters so well, and gives them such dimensionality that you’ll appreciate watching this thought-provoking and engaging REAL drama.

Djansi’s efforts are commendable here. Ties also delivers due to well-developed characters and credible, powerful performances from the cast.

Ties That Bind, which also stars Randal Batinkoff (Kick-Ass) and Ebbe Bassey, (African Booty Scratcher and Say Grace Before Drowning), won nine awards at last year’s Ghana Movie Awards, including Best Directing, Best Editing, Best Sound & Mixing, Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction and Best Picture.

Watch the trailer below:

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