Nollywood. Nigeria’s film industry. We churn out thousands of films in a year. A few, good. Most, I can’t stand. It’s funny; I watched many Nollywood films as a child, mostly rented from video clubs. Those were the good old days, yea? But, I’m not nostalgic.
Over time, as I noticed the difference between American and Nigerian films, I started to want more. Why can’t we have better special effects? Why are the lines so cheesy? Why is the acting so tacky?
It’s 2018 and I don’t watch or at least, try not to watch what I have now distinguished as ‘home videos’. That is, the category of films that are hurriedly made in a day or two. The kind of films that are so terrible they’re not worth my time.
As bad as most Nigerian films are, there are more and more good ones as the years roll by. I’m still going to stay away from really bad films, but for the most part, I’m going to start cutting Nollywood some slack.
Turns out some of the Hollywood classics from way back weren’t perfect either. Heck, they make bad films even now.
I’ve been watching American films from the 50s and 60s over the past few days and to be honest, they’re incomparable to modern cinema. From the tacky special effects to the bad child acting, there are imperfections here and there. I’m not bashing those films though. They were glorious.
I don’t think it’s fair to compare Nigerian films with present day American cinema. The pace, scope and everything else concerning the development of both industries differ greatly. American cinema developed at its own pace and with its own classics. The same goes for Nigerian cinema. With time, we’ll get it right.
That brings me to another thought. Many filmmakers who are trying to make good indigenous films (and succeeding sometimes) seem to be trying too hard to make foreign-like films. This doesn’t work for me and I bet I’m not the only one who’s noticed. I hope they stop. As I watch more old films, I’m beginning to appreciate the art form of film more than ever. It can be so much more than what we’re doing with it.