BY JERRY CHI
Dear “New Nollywood“,
We see what you are doing with the industry, and it’s commendable, really. Our movies can now be viewed in cinemas, there are now premieres and red carpet events, hours spent watching movies are less cringeworthy, and the cinematography is deserving of commendation…
But there is need to mix it up a little. Sure enough, those clips made in Asaba under a week which run from “Season 1-6” leave much to be desired, but there is a reason they are still loved by many homegrown Nigerians. The cinema-going culture has not been fully imbibed, and if we want to draw people out of their houses and away from rental stores, there are a few elements that need to be integrated. A comedy film featuring a John “Ibu” Okafor, Nkem Owoh, Charles Inojie or Chiwetalu Agu will be thirty times funnier than one featuring Okon Lagos, Alexx Ekubo or (the dreadful) IK Ogbonna.
Again, there seems to be a certain lack of diversity in the new Nollywood, and this translates even to the series aired on Africa Magic Urban. The same guys who feature in The Wedding Party make appearances on Tinsel, then get to be in Hotel Majestic, then feature in Duplicity! It gets eye-rolling, and slowly the new school caves in to the cliches they came out to fight in the first place. We get tired of seeing Daniel K. Daniel star alongside Sambisa Nzeribe or Tope Tedela in every other movie, then have Uti Nwachukwu star with Blossom Chukwujekwu, with maybe Adesua Etomi as a supporting act. Even Ireti Doyle (crush of life) falls into this tiresome cycle sometimes.
That Gideon Okeke (Tinsel‘s “Philip”) had the guts to bash Chiwetalu Agu for his timeless, evergreen slangs (“Ekwensu e nwe te phone number”, etc) says a lot about the direction of the New Nollywood. It shouldn’t be “us and them”, old and new should complement each other. The other day, someone had the nerve to say Adesua is a better actress than Rita Dominic. If I was a Mafioso, I would have called out a hit contract.
There is a reason ’76 was a hit, there is a reason Fifty and Wives On Strike have been panned by some as ’boutique” movies.
The story lines need tweaking and working on too. A Soldier’s Story got me puncturing lots of holes in the fight scenes, scene progressions and sequence. Alakada Reloaded proves that a movie can cause you to laugh and still want you to ask for your money back because it was that pointless, The Arbitration caused me to cringe (you don’t arbitrate in criminal trials, a little research won’t hurt!) So, there, progress is being made, but it could be quicker, and we still have reasonable ground to cover in getting our movie industry to laudable standards!
Jerry Chi is a lawyer and writer. He first published this on his Facebook page.