So there are a lot of changes going on in the Nigerian Film industry. From making home videos we’ve gone to hitting the cinema, not only at home but abroad, with films premiering in the United Kingdom ,the US and even collaborations with East European countries.
However as a huge movie fan, i noticed we are still sticking within a few genres and even sometimes same storyline (Nigerian immigrant gets into trouble). As we grow and get better, there are some genres and sub genres I’d like to see.
COMING OF AGE
Knowing my childhood, and the adventures I’ve heard my friends tell of theirs(very exciting) Climbing trees, taking short cuts across neighborhoods backyards and having to rabbit when they decide to have a little target practice. After school lessons and wearing double shorts to school when whippings(Doctor Bulahlah) were in the wind. Childhood in the 80’s is full of good memories and i think that is a great story material that has not been harnessed. One great example of a coming of age movie is STAND BY ME(1986) by Rob Reiner. If you haven’t seen it before, please do. Another is LORD OF THE FLIES(1963). Ok, this one is quite dark but it’s also a powerful commentary on humanity , touches a little on satire too. which is the next thing id like to see
With Nigeria’s political and social history, we are practically over flowing with potential satire movies. There’s so much going on , i’m surprised i haven’t seen a satirical movie made. We have them in literature in the books of Achebe(A man of the People) and Soyinka(A play of Giants), and in newspaper comic strips but nothing to the best of my knowledge on the screen. George Orwell had two great ones ; Animal Farm and 1982. I think we are ripe for open season on satires. Even “The Simpsons” is a satirical look at dysfunctional suburban , America. On TV The Colbert Report is satIrical news, where vices ,follies, abuses and short comings are held up to ridicule. Just imagine the hilarity that could ensue.
Ok, here we are making a little progress with two films lined up Lions of 76 and Half of a Yellow sun. Both have stories set within a historical backdrop. But as per biopic. We have many leaders, historical figures, From politics, to music to social movers, they all need biopics so the younger generations can learn about their forerunners. A Fela biopic has been talked about , but that’s not being done by Nigerians, not Nigerian producers anyway. In the US MLK, Malcom X , and Muhammed Ali have had biopic(s). Why can’t we have on Awolowo, Azikwe,Abiola, Soyinka etc
Taking it back a lil further. Most of us have seen Braveheart, or if not seen heard of (if u never hear where u don dey) Though some creative liberties were taken with the story, the Scots are now very proud of the movie and recently used it for national promotion. I’m sure we have legendary warriors from pre colonial times whose stories would be fascinating on the screen.
Whether from our own writers( which there are many potentials) or just great universal stories. Shakespeare has many great universal human stories, which can be set in an Africa Think Hamlet,Twelfth Night,Henry IV,The Merchant of Venice. How about Jane Austen? Think Sense&Sensibility. Now, imagine setting it in Pre Independence Nigeria.Get the picture. Or if you prefer to be Pan-African, we have books by Soyinka,Achebe,Ben Okri and others which can be translated to the big screen. Why haven’t we done them yet?
We’ve all heard those stories from boarding school friends or siblings. Enough stories to make several seasons of the Twilight Zone, Goosebumps and Tales from the Crypt. From Bush Baby to Madam Koi Koi to poo eating demons. The mere word of mouth illustration was enough to put the fear in many of us. What about a visual visceral illustration on an IMAX screen. Something that can put to shame Candyman, Boogie man , Mothman and every other western urban legend that’s scared the living daylights out of some of us. And we’ve not even touched on Slasher movies.
This is by no means an exhaustive list, but just some that come to mind right now. Let’s not restrict ourselves to just drama and comedy , let’s explore the sub genres that are out there and have more diverse cinema.
What other genre/sub genre would you like to see in Nigerian Cinema? Drop a comment . Cheers