Listen to article

Although I know people who are fanatic about Naija films (aka NOLLYWOOD, I must say I am tempted to be offended by this term!) I personally have only watched a few some of which were extremely gory but generally very entertaining and funny. Nonetheless I think it is very exciting that the film industry which started about 10 years ago has developed into a huge business that is a source of foreign exchange for the country. The industry is supported by a number of associations such as the Film Makers Association, National Film and Video Censors Board and Actors body. Films are shot both in English and in 3 of the main indigenous languages, Yoruba, Igbo and Hausa and range from historical films, folklore to modern romances and dramas about betrayal, infidelity, revenge. Many have religious and moral overtones with good and evil battling it out with each other. From the few I have seen I would say many are overly dramatic and so emotional and woeful that you will be in tears by the end of the film. Also for some reason the dramas and romances all seem to take place in Surulere. Why is this? Another fun thing about Nigerian films especially the ones shot in Surulere is you can easily pick out famous spots like the best suya spot, your neighbours house and the petty trader on the street. There are also a number of serious films such as "Starting Over" which is about HIV/AIDS which deals with the issue of the stigma of having the illness.

The Nigerian film industry is very much integrated with Nigerian popular culture with both feeding off each other. Another offset of the film industry is the new celeb/fashion industry (See posting Hello Nigeria) and Nigerian Celebrities. Nigeria has always (in my memory) been obsessed with fashion, status, entertaining, being seen and seeing and the film industry feeds well into that culture. If I was to be cynical which I often am, I would say Nigerian films like religion in Nigeria are a way of brainwashing the population into being docile and apolitical with bland and similar storey lines. From a feminist perspective the portrayal of women as either the "whore" or the "wife", the wife/woman standing by her man together, the promiscuous husband who gets away with everything and the "good man" who ends up with nothing, all reinforce gender stereotypes rather than challenge them.