This is Nollywood
California Newsreel • 56m
Directed by Franco Sacchi • Documentary • 2007 • 56 minutes
First came Hollywood, then Bollywood and now Nollywood, Nigeria’s booming film industry, which released 2000 feature features in 2006 alone. Where else can you shoot a full-length dramatic film for $10,000 in 7 days? Until recently little known outside its own country, THIS IS NOLLYWOOD explains why Nigerian video production is becoming recognized as a phenomenon with broad implications for the cultural and economic development of Africa. The Nollywood phenomenon is doubtless an expression of the resourcefulness and vigor of Nigerian society. But it also raises questions about the potential social impact of commercial cinema, especially in the developing world. Does Nollywood in fact depict daily Nigerian life any more accurately or incisively than Hollywood portrays American society? Does it dare expose the kleptocracy which for forty years has kept its citizens impoverished by pocketing the nation:s immense oil wealth? As for cultural preservation, Nollywood narratives seem more influenced by international genres like the action thriller and the soap opera than Yoruba drama or Ibo folk tales. Can we reasonably hope that a cinematic Chinua Achebe or Wole Soyinka will emerge out of the frenetic deal-making of Lagos? Superstar Saint Obi optimistically predicts that “I believe very soon we are not only going to have better movies, we’ll have that original Nigerian movie.” For the time being, hard-pressed Nigerians are at least getting their own version of the vicarious excitement and undemanding escapism, which have become the prime commodities of the Information Age. For us, these films may give clearer insights into the apprehensions and aspirations of the average Nigerian than any documentary or political drama. “This is Nollywood captures the problems and dynamism...
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