Movies, books, music, art, these are all mediums that can be used not just for entertainment but to advance a cause or educate or criticise governments
Our movie industry seems to be out to just entertain and nothing more but is that all there is to making movies?
Worldwide, it is a given fact that Hollywood is currently the most advanced movie industry in terms of content, budget, production and execution.
On the other hand, Nigeria’s Nollywood has as it’s boasting power, one of the most prolific movie industries in the world, churning out countless low budget movies with sometimes very terrible scripting and production, annually.
If there’s one thing I would give to the movie industry in the west, it is the versatility in the sourcing of material for movies. From books such as the Harry Potter series to history dating as far back as the 18th and 19th century, there’s not an unusual source for a good movie script in Hollywood.
Another thing Hollywood also thrives on is its ability to tell history in an entertaining, educative and emotive manner with movies. From the 1957 movie, The Bridge on the River Kwai which told of the Burma Railway slaughter of Japanese prisoners of war during World War II, to the 1997 movie, Titanic, which was set against the ill-fated maiden voyage of the R.M.S. Titanic, Hollywood doesn’t tire or shy away from telling history through movies no matter how touched up their version of events might be.
A 2016 movie, 13TH, which is showing on Netflix, however, has caught my attention and my curiosity about Nollywood and its aversion or reluctance to tell about Nigeria’s rich or unpleasant history using this medium of art that is widely appreciated and accepted.
Here’s a trailer of the movie:
13TH is gut-wrenching. You get the same feeling from watching a movie like 12 Years A Slave. You feel anger and pain and hurt in measures you might habe known yourself to be capable of.
The movie is mirrored from the 13th Amendment, a declaration in the United States that freed slaves and banished slavery but left it as an option for punishing criminals, majority of whom were blacks whose freedom was supposedly being fought for.
At it’s time of release, the U.S was already grappling with police violence especially against black people and many of such killings, some more gut-wrenching than others had already taken place.
Written and produced by Ava DuVerna and Spencer Averick, the movie explored the U.S. prison systems, the demonization of minority blacks and how the prison systems, though highly deteriorated and over populated by black Americans, were funding lavish lifestyles for whites.
Until date, ’76 is probably the only movie for me that attempts to tell our history in a way that was not only highly interesting to watch but highly enlightening and mind stirring.
Olobiri came close and the adaptation of Chimamanda Adichie’s Half of A Yellow Sun was a fair representation of the Biafran struggle although edited so much that the movie lacked the emotions and air of war and secession that the novel itself captured.
Kunle Afolayan’s October 1 clearly had nothing much to do with Nigeria’s independence which I find baffling since the script writer and producer could have chosen a different date for the culmination of the events in the movie. I would like to see a movie that tells of Nigeria’s independence in some way titled ‘October 1’ but that title is currently off the market for any of such movies in the future, an utter waste of epic movie titles.
The dust leading up to the release of Half of a Yellow Sun tells me two things; our elders are scared of our history; a past that somehow seems too terrifying, too inhuman and callous to be shown their children and I see this also in the anomaly that history has been removed from the education curriculum. It also tells me that we largely do not care that we have very little or next to nothing of our history handed down by our forebears.
They say the millennials have diminishing attention spans and they hate to read, but they love movies. The success of The Wedding Party in it’s first few days in the cinemas tells us that much.
But they need more.
Who’s producing a movie of the Aba Women’s Riot of 1929? Who’s writing a script on the Slave Trade Act of 1807 something quite similar to the 13th Amendment? Who’s directing the coups and counter coups of the Buhari, IBB, Shagari and Gowon cabal?
Cisero says; to know nothing of what happened before you were born is to forever remain a child.
Any wonder why our parent’s generation think something is largely lacking in the caliber of young adults we have today?
I definitely haven’t exhausted historical movies produced in Nollywood and maybe you can help share with us the ones you’ve seen in the past?
Share your thoughts in the comment section below or on the #AmoreNation community page.