BY ‘SEGUN ODEJIMI
When I watched the trailer of Izu Ojukwu‘s attempt at telling the botched 1976 coup attempt in Nigeria, ’76, my first impression was that Nollywood had a monster of a film on its hands. But since I had been taught, on more than occasion, not to trust movie trailers out of Nollywood, I reserved my verdict until I had seen the film.
I was right. Ojukwu and co did an amazing job with ’76. This is a good film all-around. It’s one thing to spend several years from pre-production to the point of releasing the film, it is another thing for the amount of work put in to be evident in the final output.
Your priority as we reach the home stretch of 2016 should be seeing ’76 once it finds its way into Nigerian cinemas later this month and here are a few reasons why:
- Good acting performances do not necessarily guarantee that you will have a good film on your hands. Sure it goes a long way in making the film watchable but it is never, on its own, a film’s ticket to greatness. In ’76, the brilliant acting performances presented to the viewer by the leads – Ramsey Nouah and Rita Dominic – as well as the other supporting actors, combine with the various other beautiful parts of this production to serve up a film worth the time and money you need to see it in this “Buhari economy.”
- It’s good to see a film attempt to address one of the many military coup episodes Nigeria has witnessed in its 56-year post-independence history. As much as these periods were undoubtedly gloomy periods in our political history, they cannot be erased from it. The earlier we started attempting unbiased artistic documentations of these periods, the easier it is for the coming generations to get some education about the history of their nation.
- Helped by the fact that its art direction team was headed by the legendary Pat Nebo, the attention to small details in ’76 is nothing short of commendable. Making periodic films is one tricky adventure and not getting it right can mess up the appeal of your entire production. Costumes, makeup, props, set design and sound all combine to give you a 1976 feel.
- One other major filmmaking element that pronounces a film dead on arrival is the story. Here, the story is well crafted, believable and with well-worked twists. Of course, I knew that was what would to Nouah’s character at the end, but the twists were planted well enough to still make you doubt what you thought you already knew.
- ’76 is a testament that the Nigerian military is not a monster after all. According to the producers, the military accorded them full support in the making of the film, to the extent that some of the actors were trained in small military gestures to put the make their role interpretations more believable. The film was also shot on location at the Adekunle Fajuyi Military Cantonment, Ibadan over several months.
In all, after what was a relatively poor start to the year for Nollywood, the past couple of months have come alive with productions that the industry can be proud of. At least at the moment. Films like Gidi Blues, The Arbitration, 93 Days and now ’76 have given us something to cheer. Long may this conscious effort at making brilliant films continue.
Watch the ’76 trailer below: