Nigerian movies: the journey of errors

Jim&OmotolaBy Tobias Lengnan Dapam

In the past few years, the Nigerian movie industry popularly known as Nollywood has gained popularity in the world. This rapid growth has witnessed the production and proliferation of indigenous movies that are produced either in the English language or in the major local languages. Unlike the American and European movies which hitherto flooded the Nigerian market, Nigerian movies are so called not because they are produced in Nigerian English or indigenous languages, but because they are produced in Nigeria by Nigerians and they feature Nigerian actors and actresses who portray the Nigerian experiences and world outlook.

Although, some sections feel Nigerian movies have provided a better and indigenous alternative to the teeming viewing public and cinemagoers, many scholars and critics have poised to criticise the quality and content of these movies. Although movie analysts have done a lot on the content and quality of the Nigerian movies in terms of the story line and production, very little or nothing has been written on the language used in these movies.

However, despite successes and attainment of the Nollywood in the world, the movie is still operating in the shadows of Hollywood, the most recognised movie industry in the world.

Movie analysts say that the industry does not have an industrial based rationale. Therefore, each producer and director concentrate on what will bring them money. It is the quest for money that makes them to produce erroneous movies characterized by poor sound, substandard camera work, poor scripting and editing.

The three stages of production which is usually tasking in other climes is hurriedly done in the Nollywood. The movies are full of imitation of the western movie which do not have basis in the country.

“It is very unfortunate that we have become copycats in the industry. If you observe, bulk of our movies, the script ideas would remind you of some foreign movies. Recently, I watched our own version of ‘save the last dance’ and ‘Mr. Bone’. In truth, the versions acted here did not maintain the pace of those movies. Those movies were quite entertaining and full of suspense but our own was rubbish. In fact, it is an insult to the original movies.

“ ‘Mr. Bones for instance had the South African cultural flavour which showcase the South African real culture of the ‘gwara gwara’, sobriquet for golf in their culture. But our own version was just a wasteful adventure where the culture was not properly injected in the movie.

“If our movie will concentrate on imitation and wrongful importation of foreign culture, the industry will continue to crawl among other nations. I think it is high time we appreciate our culture and reflect it more in the movies. There are other aspects of politics in the society which we also need to capture properly so as to make our audience learn better through the motion pictures”, A movie producer, Bright Karl has said.

Speaking further on Nigerian movie, Solomon Kumlong, a movie producer, said the industry is yet to get it right.

“We have not yet gotten it right. There are so many factors responsible for our poor production. Most times when I watch the movie, I get confused. At times I don’t know what the movie is aimed at teaching or informing its viewers. Movie is supposed to pass a message across to its audience and make them learn something from it. But am sure when you sample the opinions of our movie audience, 90% will tell you they don’t watch local movies.

“I don’t blame them because at times, the movie is not worth the stress of watching. You will discover that from the idea, camera movement and sound are poorly put together and do not arrest the interest of an audience.

“You will also discover that the movie has more adverts than the content of its production, which also bored its audience. The movie has no suspense and it is easy for anyone to interpret the movie by watching its copy. The title

of the movie will also tell you what the movie is all about. So if you as a director allow your audience to read you, then you have a great problem.

“Most times we use casts wrongly and that defeats the essence of that particular movie.

The directors usually use people with pure Igbo accent to act the role of a typical Hausa man. Why can’t they get a Hausa man to play that role?

These cases are too numerous in the industry. They are always in a hurry to produce movie and there is no thorough rehearsal, therefore the movie is full of errors and poor packaging”, he said.

Based on the foregoing, 80% of Nigerians do not watch the home videos. Majority of its audience of late are found in the villages and secondary school students, mostly females in their puberty who, want to acquire knowledge on dating.

To be able to attain the heights of movie production devoid of unprofessionalism, the movie industry must, as a matter of urgency weed itself of unprofessional movie producers who have turned the industry in money making ventures instead of producing movies that sets agenda for its mass audience predominantly the youths.

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