BY DEOYE FALADE
Sometimes you mind haunts you with a series of thoughts that you thought would fade away over the course of a few days. But they don’t and in a way I’m thankful for that.
Between February and now, we’ve been regaled with a series of awards – BAFTA, The 88th Oscars, AMVCA. Abroad, the discussion was more about race than anything else. Here, it was about who wore what, who got what, who was pissed about who got what, yada yada yada.
So I’m glad I didn’t say anything then because there was a whole lot of emotional commentary. For instance, I was surprised to see that some people had issues with Chris Rock’s 10-minute monologue at the Oscars. They even cited the hanging grandma reference on the grounds that it was disrespectful and insensitive. “When your grandma is swinging from a tree, it’s really hard to care about Best Documentary Foreign Short.”
I was like “What? That was genius.” It might have been uncomfortable at times but I think Chris did more for the diversity debate than a whole lot of people did beforehand. The bottomline is: black people want the same opportunities white people are getting. Simple.
I was disappointed (but not mad) at the Beast of No Nation snub. Jada wanted Concussion but which movie in which category would that knock out? Let’s be honest with ourselves. Should films with black people get nominations not on the strengths of the films, stories behind them or the acting, or they should be nominated just because we want something for black people?
And then there’s the AMVCA
It was a fantastic evening. Bukky Ajayi and Sadiq Daba were honoured, Nigerian actors won a glut of awards and all that jazz. We already know. We also know that two different films from the same sub-region won for both the sub-region and the continent as well. Not that this is not a good thing but how on earth does that work? Where’s the logic.
I know it’s been mentioned that the category for West Africa was a voting category. I’ve been reminded that it’s a ‘Viewers’ Choice’ awards. But doesn’t it make more sense that if one movie wins overall in Africa, no other film, from the same West African sub-region, not to mention the same country – Nigeria – should have won anything that had something to do with Best Film again? Voting or not, these kind of discrepancies should have been sorted out from the nominations stage. In the end, it gives the impression that everyone needs to go home with something and that isn’t good enough.
And we’re back to Hollywood
Why would a website that is proudly Nollywood talk about Hollywood? Why do Hollywood reviews? I never really thought about this till I had to discuss it this week with a few friends on Facebook. But I just went to see London Has Fallen last week – it’s an entertaining one. You know those actor no dey die movies that are so predictable? It falls into this category but the execution was brilliant. Despite you knowing that it’s gonna have a happy ending, the movie still keeps you on the edge of your seat, clapping, laughing, and yelling till the end. It doesn’t pretend to be what it isn’t. Watch the fireworks, be entertained and go home with a smile on your face. That’s it.
But I digress. Or not. If I’m going to see this movie at a cinema in Nigeria with my hard earned money, it should make sense that I not only find a review on Roger Ebert but also on a Nigerian website that focuses on movies. Fair enough?
And Nollywood Again
The past few months have had me bear witness to some hard-hitting reviews and a couple of incensed filmmakers in their wake. I understand. It’s not easy to spend money making a film in Nigeria, paying actors, doing post-production, promoting it, and then having it ripped by someone in a chair with his or her PC sitting comfortably within arm’s reach.
But it’s also not easy to pay to see a movie you’ve got such high expectations of then have it shoot those lofty expectations down like an errant F-14 in restricted airspace. It’s painful.
Is there a middle ground? Should we temper expectations?
I believe so. Context is a beautiful thing. One mistake I’ll never make is seeing a Nollywood film with a Hollywood mentality? It’s a huge disservice to self. However, tempering expectations goes two ways and it seems that some Nigerian filmmakers are fond of setting consumers up for a fall with movies big on hype and little else. Don’t act like ‘you have arrived’; in fact, promise little and deliver much more like Leicester FC.
Some of us don’t care about the ‘shine’ of a film. A few things are not too much to ask for though; give us a good story and some competent acting; we’ll love you for it.
Seems we now ‘plagiarise’ our own movies too.
I used to think this could only happen to Bollywood and Hollywood movies in our midst but a bros of mine recently stumbled upon something quite interesting and disturbing in equal measure. A TV series was blatantly ripped, given a different title, different cast and shot as another series. The dialogue and script from the original was the same.