If you did not hear about the saga surrounding Room 315 then I have to ask you if you spent the past four months in outer space. Film guru Niyi Akinmolayan called for a scriptwriting competition and Abosi Ogba emerged winner with Room 315. Preparations for production and Media personality and spoken word poet Wana Uduabong called out saying Room 315 was a rip off from her web series Room 313.
Long story short, It created a lot of buzz around the soon to be made film Room 315. This was one bad publicity that I believed worked to their advantage. Because Room 315 became controversial and highly anticipated, not because of Niyi but because of the plagiarism accusation and then the fact that the short film was to raise awareness on mental health.
Sorry, I digressed a bit we did not come here for old gist. So finally Room 315 has been released and was I impressed? Yea and No. I was more confused rather. Yes, it did meet certain expectations but …
In Room 315, we use an omniscient eye to follow the daily proceedings of a psychiatrist Dr. Stone (Bimbo Manuel), focusing on a day. On this day of interest he had sessions with three of his clients: Nina; a young woman presumably trying to find her way (Jessica Opara), Adam; a priest filled with guilt of his past transgressions (Gregory Ojefua) and Edwina & Taiwo; a married couple played by Tina Mba and Emmanuel Uduma respectively.
We see together with Dr. Stone that all his clients are one way connected not just professionally but to him also. One of the concluding scenes, Dr. Stone holds a photograph of a group of medical students- He and Taiwo were in the pictures and a flashback shows that Edwina may have been the girl Adam left behind during the hospital raid. This is, however, unclear.
Room 315 tried to show us what therapy was like, how therapy could be a way of seeking help or treatment but it did more to express the limitations of Psychiatrist. He sits and listens and takes notes and helps guide them through their process of thought. We do not see how talking helped them fight their demons.
I had many questions, however. Dr. Stone often talked about wanting to switch roles with his client. He wanted to be the talker and let someone else listen to him. Psychiatrists go by daily, listening to different people and helping them sort things out that I have to wonder if at the end of the day how well they are able to separate reality from what happens behind closed doors. If they too do not eventually need therapy. What happened to Dr. Stone and that resigned attitude he had?
It is a short film and there is only so much you can do with such little time. From the publicity of the film, we are given the impression that it would help create awareness on mental health so we inadvertently believe that we may see how therapy can be a solution or form of treatment but the movie showed me how futile therapy can be.
Dr. Stone’s attitude at the end of the movie shows that after all the hours of talking spent, he may be unable to help them find the help his clients seeks. His thoughts show that his job has become monotonous and a chore.
My interpretation of Room 315 was different from what I had intended I would get. Somehow this movie was on its way to becoming a good film but there is something missing. Something that veers it off that path. Heavy dialogue? The average performance of Jessica Opara? The many questions it raised? I was engrossed in the movie waiting for that climax or feeling of satisfaction which failed to come.
Great casting, Tina Mba, and Gregory Ojefua, and, Bimbo Manuel, took their delivery home. Sound and lighting were great. The fact that the film was made possible by volunteers makes it great.
One thing is for real, Mental health is real. Do not take it for granted and seek help.