Nollywood: Nigerian Cinema


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Aliya Zlotkin's presentation for Hollywood and the World - Spring 2013 - The New School

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Nollywood: Nigerian Cinema

  2. 2. Nigeria, AfricaPopulation: 170 millionCapitol: LagosLanguages: English,Igbo, Hausa, YorubaUnder British occupationuntil 1960, declaredindependence in 1963
  3. 3. NOLLYWOOD ORIGINS - First Nigerian films were made by filmmakers such as Ola Balogun and Hubert Ogunde in the 1960‘s - Limited by high cost of film production - Television broadcasting in Nigeria began in the 1960‘s, by the mid-1980‘s, every state had its own broadcasting station - Law limited foreign television content - Began televising local popular theater productions, which were then circulated as video, informal video trade developed
  4. 4. LIVING IN BONDAGE - First Nollywood Blockbuster, released straight to video - Released in 1992 - Directed by: Chris Opi Rapu - Starring: Kanayo O. Kanayo, Francis Agu - Igbo language - Horror film, unhappy ending - Started trend of supernatural horror films in Nollywood - Money ritual crystallized the sudden mysterious wealth that came with the oil boom - Gave symbolic structure for the moral condemnation felt by Nigerians that the elite were up to no good
  5. 5. POPULAR NOLLYWOOD GENRESEpic film – take place in rural African pastHorror films – ‗Living In Bondage‘Evangelical films – ‗Hallelujah‘ filmsComedies – ‗Usuofia In London‘―Lagos is deeply traditional, even though manythink themselves to be modern… throughNigerian films, we see expressions of the anxietybetween the modern and the traditional - thestruggle for existence in Lagos is representativeof what happens elsewhere in Africa‖ - Odia Ofiemun
  6. 6. OSUOFIA IN LONDON- Released in 2003- Directed by Kingsley Ogoro- Starring Nkem Owoh (African MovieAcademy Award winner)- Village man travels to London to collecthis share of his dead brother‘s inheritance- ―Exposes the folly of Nigerians expectingwhites to always assist them while at thesame time dramatizing the real ways inwhich Europe and the US. serve as asteady source of relief from the grindingdifficulties of Nigerian life‖ - CS Monitor
  7. 7. WOMAN AFFAIR- Released in 2003- Directed by Andy Chukwu- Starring Genevieve Nnaji- Listed under ‗Family‘ on IrokoTV
  8. 8. HALF OF A YELLOW SUN- 2013- Based on the novel by ChimamandaAdichie- Produced by Andrea Calderwood(The Constant Gardener)- Thandie Newton to play protagonist- Controversy over not choosingGenevieve, famous Nigerian actress
  9. 9. NOLLYWOOD TODAY- Third largest film industry in the world (behind US and India)- Straight-to-DVD still most common, but cinemas are growing in popularity as they become moreaccessible – community cinema projects are starting up all over Nigeria- IrokoTV – Netflix of Nigeria- Criticized for excessive melodrama, crooked pictures, bad sound, overacting, repetitive stories,low-brow special effects―The excitement of seeing ourselves on the screen has drowned out the need for accuracy andauthenticity... there is a theme of pure fetish [in Nollywood‘s depiction of traditional African cultures]that doesn‘t give you a sense of the science behind the fetish.. These films demonize, stigmatizetraitional practices. In a way, the colonial man‘s standpoint is being reflected in Nollywood… The‗Mirror‘ of Nigeria, mirrors the good and the bad; it is a tool for self-recognition‖―Even when you tell your own story badly, there is a comfort in being the one telling your own story. - Odia Ofiemun
  10. 10. CLIPS•••
  11. 11. SOME QUESTIONS FOR CLASS• Africa around the world – how much do we know about Africa and its many cultures? How is Africa represented in the global media sphere, as opposed to the way it is represented through Nollywood?• Issue of ‗authenticity‘ in film – why aren‘t we—in Hollywood and elsewhere—more concerned with authentic representation?• Is the rejection of traditional African cultures in African films (as demonstrated by Nollywood portrayals of tribal society) something to be concerned with? • Do you think that this push towards ‗Western modernization‘ (particularly religious and capitalist influence) is an inevitable transformation that will happen everywhere, or can it be diverted/stopped?• How can we encourage foreign film industries to move away from the Hollywood model? Can/should we?