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Tsoro Da Ruwa

average rating is 1 out of 5


Joe Beck


Posted on:

May 25, 2024

Film Reviews
Tsoro Da Ruwa
Directed by:
Abu-bakr S. Adamu
Written by:
Abu-bakr S. Adamu
Shuaibu Abubakar Sadiq

Aquaphobia is an extreme fear of water that is not related to a physical condition or illness, and it is fairly common, particularly with those that are unable to swim. Hydrophobia is something different, it’s a fear of water related to a late-stage rabies infection. People with hydrophobia often have muscle spasms when they hear, see or taste water. When you consider how much we as humans encounter water, and how we rely on it as a necessity, it must be absolute hell to live with either, whether medically diagnosed or otherwise. ‘Tsoro Da Ruwa’ depicts the pain of living with this fear, though it’s far too shallow, and ultimately dismissive, with regards to the fear it wishes to shine a light on.


‘Tsoro Da Ruwa’ translates very literally from Hausa - a native language in Nigeria - to English, as ‘Fear and Water’. The bluntness and almost lack of effort put into the title - putting two simple words together in the most unimaginative way possible - reflects the lack of ideas or invention present in the film itself. There’s nothing profound on other in ‘Tsoro Da Ruwa’, though it is a story that should provide ripe opportunity for nuance and thought, with writer and director Abu-bakr S. Adamu instead choosing the easiest and most boring route for the screenplay to follow.


The film follows young boy Ibrahim (played by Shuaibu Abubakar Sadiq) who has been grounded in his home for three days. He says that he can’t remember who he is and that he’s not the Ibrahim he knew. His father sits on guard outside the house, reading his newspaper and listening to his radio, whilst Ibrahim spasms and shakes at the sound of water being poured into a bucket. These spasms seem serious, with a fittingly trippy effect to go with it, so it is a great surprise to see him sneaking off with his friends to go and hang out by the RIVER. There’s no motive for this at all, just sheer stupidity, as a boy suffering from hydrophobia, knowing that he’s spasming because of the water, decides to knowingly disobey the measures put in place for his own good, and go towards the source of his spasms.


The stupidity of the screenplay by Abu-bakr S. Adamu is only matched by its shallowness. Though we are led to believe that Ibrahim’s hydrophobia is severe, and that he is suffering a great deal, it is magically resolved by the power of friendship. These are friends whom Ibrahim isn’t even shown to have that great a strong bond to. We don’t understand the depth of their relationship, nor is there any suggestion of camaraderie between them, and so ultimately the supposedly life-changing condition that Ibrahim was suffering with is overcome with ease by something that isn’t even evident throughout the film.


‘Tsoro Da Ruwa’ is a strikingly bad film. It takes an idea which could make for a better film that has something to say, and instead is a frustratingly uninventive film that fails to take any risks. Ibrahim’s hydrophobia would surely be at its worse in a pool as shallow as this film.

About the Film Critic
Joe Beck
Joe Beck
Short Film
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