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OH! NOLLYWOOD

By Ashimole Felix

As a rule, I do not like criticising another man's work or writing a rejoinder I appreciate the hard work and creativity that the producer of a seemingly hopeless movies, book or painting must have invested to make the work come alive.

I need to state the above for you to appreciate the pains I am going through paneling out these words. While in Lafia awaiting the day to break for me to attend court, I was compelled to watch a nollywood film. The compulsion was overwhelming as the hotel I lodged in tuned to

Africa magic (a cable station that shows African films) the other alternative is NBS Nasarawa. The reception was poor, colourless in a coloured TV and the language defeating.

I grew up watching ACB sponsored Thing Fall Apart, NTA produced Second Chance, Village Head Master, the classical Cock Crow At Down, Sora Di Tailor and the recent broadcast of Bisi & Company, Samanja to mention but a few. Those who shared the viewing pleasure of these, will agree that the Nigerian film/TV industry is not developing. Currently there has been a Latin infestation of prime time on almost all Nigerian TV stations NTA guilty as well. These poor Latin Soap, (The Rich Also Cry, Palomo, Esmaranda, Sebastine and Catalina) often have one person doing English voice over, have enslaved Nigerians and robbed them of quality family time. Worrisome is the religious zeal with which corporate

Nigeria is investing in these instead of promoting Nigerian opera.The new generation actors may be smiling to the bank with a fat pay cheque but the public are not getting value for money.

It is eyesore and mind twisting when these nollywood films attempt westernized thriller/action film or war film. I doubt if they employ the services of a military consultant. The way the actors weld guns and over all dispositions show that inadequate research or none was done on military/soldiering cum war before these films were chunked out.Since it has been taken for granted that voodooism fetishsim and ritual is African, these movies do not depict the true essence of Afro-idol worship. My Sunday school play let that pitch God against the devil are far better than the garbage nollywood vomits to the viewing public. I learnt that our brothers in he Diaspora being home sick look unto the films from Nigeria for a true reflection of things at home, but are disappointed with he shameless attempt to copy Hollywood.

When an 18th century African scene is played, you will be dumbfounded to see actors speaking native language with American accent and their costume is a far cry from the bare breast beauty of our fore-mothers. Talking about costume, in most of the movies that have part 2, the actors often star in the whole movies without changing their hair style and in a horrible I watched, four years later, there was no significant change in the life of the actors.

They remained ageless, the cars used in part one, is still the same without visible wear & tear. Need I to remind you of the ageless nollywood twins that remain unchanged from birth through NYSC and mischievous activities as adults in the village. The captions show lack of imagination they either spell I known American movie right to left or it a literal-translation into native language.Have you watched Nigerian film lately? Actors who cannot win a singing competition against a frog, assaults our eardrum with unrealistic pledge of love on a village road to the stream. The borrowed houses in which these films are shot are another interesting dimension to lack of research. Often times, the mansions are too big for a family of two. Beyond the sitting room, the whole house is empty. The echo from the recording will tell you this, when the housewife is fully dressed like a mannequin with an eight inches high hill shoe, slaps round the living room.

The captions show lack of imagination they either spell a known American movie right to left or a literal-translation into native language.Every serous attempt to get to the root of these sub-African standard productions, stops at the producers' doorstep. The producers in Upper Iweka, Alaba international and Idumota being businessmen, are interested in quick return and not the growth of quality production. Once actor A B or C is staring and the film can be mass-produced to meet the producers' investment, the film might as well be shot with a camera phone.

There is need for nollwood to be involved in quality research. A research institution should develop as a supporting industry to nollywood.When the then minister of information Nweke Junior got involved with the industry, I was happy that a Daniel has come to justice. However, beyond Zuma and politicized movies awards inBayelsaState, the ministry of information/re-orientation has not contributed meaningfully to the development of quality film production inNigeria.

The new information minister should go a step further than Nweke, who was busy visiting film festivals abroad, and provide the enabling infrastructure for the industry to grow and sellNigeria positively to the outside world. Hollywood has done so to America and most of us knowAmerica through their films and have swallowed their propaganda of effective policing and ready ambulance service at every street corner.The minister should not allow the PDP policy of privatization cloud his reasoning.

The movie industry is not yet ripe for total plucking by the private sector. Government should provide grants for the building of film village with the full regalia (light, water, amphitheatre, accommodation) and a soft if not tax exemption for the first five years.