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Thierry Ntamack

On the Road of an Angel [Sur la route d’un ange]

YEAR: 2011

COUNTRY: Cameroon

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Title of the work

On the Road of an Angel [Sur la route d’un ange]

Studio / Production Company

JNBC Film Academy

Country of the First Edition

Country/countries of popularity

Cameroon

Original Language

French

First Edition Date

2011

First Edition Details

Sur la route d’un ange [On the Road of an Angel]. Directed by Thierry Ntamack, JNBC Film Academy, August 2011, 26 min.

Running time

26 min

Awards

FESPACO 2013, Ouaga

Genre

Motion picture
Short films
Social realist fiction*

Target Audience

Crossover

Cover

Missing cover

We are still trying to obtain permission for posting the original cover.


Author of the Entry:

Nina Munge Ajebe, ENS, University of Yaoundé 1, ajebe.nina@gmail.com

Peer-reviewer of the Entry:

Daniel Nkemleke, ENS, University of Yaoundé 1, nkemlekedan@yahoo.com

Elizabeth Hale, University of New England, ehale@une.edu.au

Male portrait

Thierry Ntamack (Actor, Director)

Thierry Ntamack is a Cameroonian film director, actor and humourist. Sur la route d’un age [On the Road of Angels] is his first film produced in 2011. He has also written two other films, namely La Patrie d’abord [Fatherland First] (2016) and Le Blanc d’Eyenga [Eyenga’s European Husband] (2015). The former is a story of the Cameroonian army who have been fighting a war with the terrorist movement, Boko Haram, in the north of the country. The latter is a story of deception in love.


Bio prepared by Nina Munge Ajebe, ENS, University of Yaoundé 1, ajebe.nina@gmail.com


Casting

Thierry Ntamack, acts in the movie as Tony Essakara

Willy Mbo, acts as in the movie Elia (The Ghost)

Clémentine Essono, acts as Mrs Beaufia

Hermine Yollo, acts as Estelle

Léopold Nyom, acts as Priest

Summary

On the Road of an Angel is a very popular Cameroonian movie which confirms the well-known assertion that ‘God walks straight on crooked lines’. The movie opens with Mrs Beaufia, the CEO of a company, reciting a Christian prayer (Holy Mary) in the native language, Ewondo*. In front of her are a series of candle lights. She is praying to God for the peaceful ascent of her late daughters’ soul in heaven. In the next scene, we are introduced to Tony, the main protagonist in the story, who gets up in the morning, hugs and kisses the picture of his dead grandmother hung on the wall. After the prayer, he leaves for the Basilica, where he usually worships. After the worship session, he encounters a strikingly beautiful lady, driving in a nice car, who pleads to him to lead her to the Municipal Cemetery. While on their way, the lady asks Tony about his profile and realises that he is an unemployed youth in spite of his high level of education. She promises to help him. She gives him a complimentary card and asks him to call the number on it and apply for the post of an Assistant Manager in Mrs Beaufia company. After a few meters, she stops the car and Tony gets out. Tony is amazed at this strange encounter. As he reads the complimentary card, the lady tries to say a few last things to him before take-off. When Tony lifts up his head to respond, he finds no one around. The lady and the car had disappeared.

We are now introduced to the next scene, where Mrs Beaufia and her secretary, Estelle, are seen discussing the need for her to get an Assistant Manager for her company. She tells her secretary to advertise the vacancy right away. While the secretary is still typing this job advertisement, Tony calls the number on the complimentary that had been given to him by the strange lady and it happens to be the number of Mrs Beaufia. Tony explains that he has been directed to apply for the job of an Assistant Manager in the company. This makes Mrs Beaufia utterly confused, since she was still about to make the vacancy public. She then asks this “strange” young man (Tony) to come to her office right away. When Tony arrives, Mrs Beaufia demands that he tells her who told him that they were looking for someone with a profile as his. Tony’s inability to explain the strange encounter between himself and the strange lady at the cemetery makes Mrs Beaufia very angry. Consequently, she orders that he be arrested. Just at that moment, Tony sees the picture of the strange lady on Mrs Beaufia’s table and screams that she is the one who hooked him up. This further complicates issues as Mrs Beaufia tells everyone the lady on the photograph in question that Tony is pointing at is her only daughter who died in a car crash.

A Priest is called in to talk to Mrs Beaufia and Tony separately in order to find out what is really happening. From the discussion with the Priest, it is discovered that Tony is indeed the baby Mrs Beaufia abandoned long ago when she gave birth in secondary school, and had kept this part of her life as a secret. The old woman who adopted Tony was just a foster parent and the only family Tony knew. Mrs Beaufia and Tony are surprised to realise that they are actually mother and son. This incident changes Tony’s life as he is made the General Manager in his mother’s company. His expertise makes the company prosper and they both live happily ever after.


* One of the local languages spoken in Yaoundé, Cameroon.

Analysis

The film highlights the complexities and mysteries that characterize human relationships. More specifically, it foregrounds the saying that “the rejected stone may be the corner stone”. This is revealed through the baby whom Mrs Beaufia abandoned at birth, who grows up to be the “savior” of her company and her companion at her old age. The child she kept and invested in does not live long to fulfill her aspirations. The mystery that characterizes the relationship between the abandoned child and the mother is spiritually mediated through the dead daughter. This illustrates the influence of the dead on the living, which is a belief held in many world cultures.

In terms of its religious connection, the events can be linked to divine justice and divine providence because inasmuch as she tries to keep her first birth a secret, the gods found a way to reveal it. This mostly happens by way of appearance of the ghost of a dead person, physically or in a dream, which comes for various reasons ranging from punishment and revenge, through warnings and necromancy, to revealing and solving mysteries. Most often, these ghosts reveal sources or causes of their deaths, and often seek revenge if their deaths were caused by someone. These ghosts are believed to speak to humans directly.

Stories of ghostly manifestations abound in ancient Greece. For example, Greek mythological accounts hold that the spirit of Patroclus appeared to Achilles to request for a proper burial, and even gave instructions on where his body should be laid. There is also the story of Tlepolemus, who was murdered by his friend Thrasyllus in order to court his wife but the ghost of Tlepolemus appeared to his wife, told her the source of his death and asked to be avenged. Another instance of ghostly manifestations in Greek mythology is documented in Homer’s Odyssey, when the ghost of Teiresias guided Odysseus on how to get home to Ithaca from Troy.

Furthermore, the spirit (of the young woman) that drives Tony to his destiny can be considered his guardian angel. The concept of the guardian angel is represented in Greek mythology by daemons, which were believed to be the messengers of the gods to the people. Some Greeks believed to be born with personal daemons. For example; Socrates described his daemon as an internal oracle which guides him.

Other themes in the film include religious faith, child abandonment, secrecy and divine justice, and forgiveness.


Further Reading

Finucane, Ronald C. Appearances of the Dead: A Cultural History of Ghosts. New York: Prometheus Books, 1984.

Johnston, Sarah Iles. Restless Dead: Encounters Between the Living and the Dead in Ancient Greece. California: University of California Press, 1999.

Mbiti, John S. African Religions and Philosophy. Portsmouth: Heinemann, 1969.

Addenda

First Premiered at: Goethe Institute of Yaoundé.

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Leaf pattern
Leaf pattern

Title of the work

On the Road of an Angel [Sur la route d’un ange]

Studio / Production Company

JNBC Film Academy

Country of the First Edition

Country/countries of popularity

Cameroon

Original Language

French

First Edition Date

2011

First Edition Details

Sur la route d’un ange [On the Road of an Angel]. Directed by Thierry Ntamack, JNBC Film Academy, August 2011, 26 min.

Running time

26 min

Awards

FESPACO 2013, Ouaga

Genre

Motion picture
Short films
Social realist fiction*

Target Audience

Crossover

Cover

Missing cover

We are still trying to obtain permission for posting the original cover.


Author of the Entry:

Nina Munge Ajebe, ENS, University of Yaoundé 1, ajebe.nina@gmail.com

Peer-reviewer of the Entry:

Daniel Nkemleke, ENS, University of Yaoundé 1, nkemlekedan@yahoo.com

Elizabeth Hale, University of New England, ehale@une.edu.au

Male portrait

Thierry Ntamack (Actor, Director)

Thierry Ntamack is a Cameroonian film director, actor and humourist. Sur la route d’un age [On the Road of Angels] is his first film produced in 2011. He has also written two other films, namely La Patrie d’abord [Fatherland First] (2016) and Le Blanc d’Eyenga [Eyenga’s European Husband] (2015). The former is a story of the Cameroonian army who have been fighting a war with the terrorist movement, Boko Haram, in the north of the country. The latter is a story of deception in love.


Bio prepared by Nina Munge Ajebe, ENS, University of Yaoundé 1, ajebe.nina@gmail.com


Casting

Thierry Ntamack, acts in the movie as Tony Essakara

Willy Mbo, acts as in the movie Elia (The Ghost)

Clémentine Essono, acts as Mrs Beaufia

Hermine Yollo, acts as Estelle

Léopold Nyom, acts as Priest

Summary

On the Road of an Angel is a very popular Cameroonian movie which confirms the well-known assertion that ‘God walks straight on crooked lines’. The movie opens with Mrs Beaufia, the CEO of a company, reciting a Christian prayer (Holy Mary) in the native language, Ewondo*. In front of her are a series of candle lights. She is praying to God for the peaceful ascent of her late daughters’ soul in heaven. In the next scene, we are introduced to Tony, the main protagonist in the story, who gets up in the morning, hugs and kisses the picture of his dead grandmother hung on the wall. After the prayer, he leaves for the Basilica, where he usually worships. After the worship session, he encounters a strikingly beautiful lady, driving in a nice car, who pleads to him to lead her to the Municipal Cemetery. While on their way, the lady asks Tony about his profile and realises that he is an unemployed youth in spite of his high level of education. She promises to help him. She gives him a complimentary card and asks him to call the number on it and apply for the post of an Assistant Manager in Mrs Beaufia company. After a few meters, she stops the car and Tony gets out. Tony is amazed at this strange encounter. As he reads the complimentary card, the lady tries to say a few last things to him before take-off. When Tony lifts up his head to respond, he finds no one around. The lady and the car had disappeared.

We are now introduced to the next scene, where Mrs Beaufia and her secretary, Estelle, are seen discussing the need for her to get an Assistant Manager for her company. She tells her secretary to advertise the vacancy right away. While the secretary is still typing this job advertisement, Tony calls the number on the complimentary that had been given to him by the strange lady and it happens to be the number of Mrs Beaufia. Tony explains that he has been directed to apply for the job of an Assistant Manager in the company. This makes Mrs Beaufia utterly confused, since she was still about to make the vacancy public. She then asks this “strange” young man (Tony) to come to her office right away. When Tony arrives, Mrs Beaufia demands that he tells her who told him that they were looking for someone with a profile as his. Tony’s inability to explain the strange encounter between himself and the strange lady at the cemetery makes Mrs Beaufia very angry. Consequently, she orders that he be arrested. Just at that moment, Tony sees the picture of the strange lady on Mrs Beaufia’s table and screams that she is the one who hooked him up. This further complicates issues as Mrs Beaufia tells everyone the lady on the photograph in question that Tony is pointing at is her only daughter who died in a car crash.

A Priest is called in to talk to Mrs Beaufia and Tony separately in order to find out what is really happening. From the discussion with the Priest, it is discovered that Tony is indeed the baby Mrs Beaufia abandoned long ago when she gave birth in secondary school, and had kept this part of her life as a secret. The old woman who adopted Tony was just a foster parent and the only family Tony knew. Mrs Beaufia and Tony are surprised to realise that they are actually mother and son. This incident changes Tony’s life as he is made the General Manager in his mother’s company. His expertise makes the company prosper and they both live happily ever after.


* One of the local languages spoken in Yaoundé, Cameroon.

Analysis

The film highlights the complexities and mysteries that characterize human relationships. More specifically, it foregrounds the saying that “the rejected stone may be the corner stone”. This is revealed through the baby whom Mrs Beaufia abandoned at birth, who grows up to be the “savior” of her company and her companion at her old age. The child she kept and invested in does not live long to fulfill her aspirations. The mystery that characterizes the relationship between the abandoned child and the mother is spiritually mediated through the dead daughter. This illustrates the influence of the dead on the living, which is a belief held in many world cultures.

In terms of its religious connection, the events can be linked to divine justice and divine providence because inasmuch as she tries to keep her first birth a secret, the gods found a way to reveal it. This mostly happens by way of appearance of the ghost of a dead person, physically or in a dream, which comes for various reasons ranging from punishment and revenge, through warnings and necromancy, to revealing and solving mysteries. Most often, these ghosts reveal sources or causes of their deaths, and often seek revenge if their deaths were caused by someone. These ghosts are believed to speak to humans directly.

Stories of ghostly manifestations abound in ancient Greece. For example, Greek mythological accounts hold that the spirit of Patroclus appeared to Achilles to request for a proper burial, and even gave instructions on where his body should be laid. There is also the story of Tlepolemus, who was murdered by his friend Thrasyllus in order to court his wife but the ghost of Tlepolemus appeared to his wife, told her the source of his death and asked to be avenged. Another instance of ghostly manifestations in Greek mythology is documented in Homer’s Odyssey, when the ghost of Teiresias guided Odysseus on how to get home to Ithaca from Troy.

Furthermore, the spirit (of the young woman) that drives Tony to his destiny can be considered his guardian angel. The concept of the guardian angel is represented in Greek mythology by daemons, which were believed to be the messengers of the gods to the people. Some Greeks believed to be born with personal daemons. For example; Socrates described his daemon as an internal oracle which guides him.

Other themes in the film include religious faith, child abandonment, secrecy and divine justice, and forgiveness.


Further Reading

Finucane, Ronald C. Appearances of the Dead: A Cultural History of Ghosts. New York: Prometheus Books, 1984.

Johnston, Sarah Iles. Restless Dead: Encounters Between the Living and the Dead in Ancient Greece. California: University of California Press, 1999.

Mbiti, John S. African Religions and Philosophy. Portsmouth: Heinemann, 1969.

Addenda

First Premiered at: Goethe Institute of Yaoundé.

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