Thursday, February 28, 2008

Addressing the Nigerian Film Industry.


Someone read my blog and got back to me with a, "oh my gosh, you seemed so angry..". Lol!! I was. As I mentioned, I use this blog to deal with certain things and often times to check that I am not loco with the thoughts running through my mind. But, that is done. That is over and we are moving on.

Yes, I am feeling better now, at least, you can hear me clearly. I had the flu or something akin to flu with the resulting extremely high body temperature, nausea, cough, stuffy nose and loss of apetite. (Now, you can't keep me away from food - this is for Eddie (double wink)).

Okay, during the period that I was recuperating, I spent my time catching up on my Nigerian Movies particularly the ones in which Genevieve Nnaji is the main actress.
I got a chance to watch together as one. A brief synopsis of the movie is that the Genevieve character was being beaten by her teacher in class and he poked out her eyes and because she has one eye, it was assumed that no one will be willing to marry her. The Igwe's (chief) verdict on the situation was that the teacher was going to marry her. The teacher didn't want to, he internally rebelled and used his anger at his situation as his permission to abuse her. He beat her up several times, made her sleep on the floor, TOOK AWAY HER VOICE within the relationship and locked her out of the house. Of course, each time he abused her, she was made to stay back in the relationship because of her kinsmen. It turned out that the teacher was in love with someone else,so that was the excuse given in the movie for his animalistic behavior.

Fast forward, the other woman that he is in love with learns that he is married and dumps him and he decides that he wants to get back with his wife (how convenient - roll eyes) , who has no option but to put up with his behind. He sweet talks her, she accepts it and conveniently forgets that behind this NEW sweet mask is an animal waiting to be unleashed. An animal that she has seen several times.


At first, after watching the movie - I was like "HOW SWEET". Then, it got me really thinking - " what the ----". This isn't sweet. I am brushing abuse off with a wave of my hand. It got me thinking of Nollywood and its treatment of women within its movies. Nneoma, on her blog, has discussed this topic quite thoroughly and I really do not have that much to add to it. I decided to leave Gene movies and move to other Nollywood movies and I saw the same thing: women being characterised into being either the devil, angel, overly sexualized beings,good, bad etc. I wondered when Nollywood will start giving some depth to its female characters. Women aren't one dimensional characters. I want to see the humanity within women. Women like me - nice, kind but with a slight evil streak that could pop out. I want a Nollywood , in which women are not made out to be the victims of men's caprices or societies whims. A Nollywood in which women are allowed to make decisions and women's decision making power is not put within the arena of being evil.

It got me really thinking:

a) How can we change Nollywood to make it really women friendly?

b) Are there Nolly wood movies that you can recommend that has some depth? Seriously, I am still recuperating, so I need to watch something good that makes me go wow. If I see one more One sided Characterization - I will literally SCREAM in my bedroom. Trust me, you don't want that to happen.


Excerpt of Together As One.

42 comments:

Jaybabe said...

I love watching anything with Gene too. By the way, du know the name of the guy who was acting as the teacher? Maybe he might be one of my fav's.

The reason why producers/scriptwriters come up with these kinda movies, where women are solicited, is bcoz they know how deeply strong women are, and now wants to portray a bad picture to the society about women. Try and watch Fragile Pain and Games Men Play. See women taking control!

How are you love love? Missed you girl!!!

Uzezi said...

nollywood movies? can't say much cos im not a fan. but the little i ve seen halfway, agrees wt u. women aren't portrayed well. guess something has to be done about that.

guerreiranigeriana said...

hope you feel better quick, fast and in a hurry...

...when you recuperate, you had better grab a pad, pencil and a screenwriting book and start writing...that's how we'll change nollywood...

Jaycee said...

Errrrrrrrrr...the reason I don't do naija movies exactly! I get bored...same story lines, hardly any new innovation. The thing is I only enjoy naija movies when my friends are around, so we can laugh and yap the story lines and laugh at all the jokes...lemme stop here cos if my friends who are nollywood fans catch me, I'll be in pepper soup...lolllll...

princesa said...

@jay, I see you're one BIG nollywood fan. thanks for appreciating us sister.

Pammy, been a while since i dropped by. What happened to ur template?! I really liked the old one.
As per your post, the movies are a reflection of the society. These things happen. It's sad but the woman is still a victim in our system.
I agree that we should portray women in stroger roles. This can spur the female folks into taking charge.

Nyemoni said...

I also need an answer to question number 2... I am not a fan of nollywood so i really can't help...have watched abot 15-20 nollywoodmoviesand most of them left a bad taste in my mouth...but I agree with you that the image mostly potrayed of our women in the movies is not always a nice one...but then, nollywood mainly focuses on the bad side of our society doesn't it?

pamela said...

JAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY: I am looking for fragile pain as I type. :-) Gene rocks. She is a great actress. Doing better :-)


Uzezi: thanks :-)


Guerria: you know you've a point.

pamela said...

Jaycee: I go tell o!!! :D


Princess: yeah. It started with trying to hide away from someone and then it moved into a new template and everything...lol!! I liked the other one too,,,, But the fire on this template is sexy... :D

pamela said...

moni: I agree with you. But, unfortunately, I love watching them but with the hope that things will get better. I have to say there has been some improvement in terms of story line, fashion and quality of the movies BUT I keep on coming back to what they do with the women characters in this movie - horrible....


Jay: I have watched Games Men Play. That WAS A MOVIE. A+ all the way.

Jinta said...

dont watch them, but i'm sure if i saw one with your character as you described above, i'm liable to notice only the 'evil streak'. lol

pamela said...

jinta jinta jinta!! how many times did i call you ehn??

Jaybabe said...

@Pricessa...my dvd rack is goinno fall down soon. I'm packing others in my drawers. I have a lotta those. I think its an addiction coz i've also subscribed for Africa Magic, but i'm still buying dvd's.

@Pam..Gene is gr8 actress my dear..and very beautiful. Ini Edo is on the go too. And Dakore is coming up alright. Beautiful gals. So you've watched Games Men Play? Then look for Games Women Play!

Afrobabe said...

First...why are the labels under the post in chinesse or korean or something other than english...

secondly...well actually, now to the point...

In Africa, a woman's place is seen as being in the home despite what might be there with her..

I am still on the fence regarding this...on the one hand the divorce rate is low because women dont just leave their marriages just cos he yelled... on the second hand what if she is going through hell..

I can't recommend any naija movioe, haven't seen any in a while...

pamela said...

Jaybabe: Lol!! I have watched Games women play as well. I believe Games Men Play was better but then people will say it is because I am a woman.


Afro: (hindi script) I really don't know - It has been that way since Monday ...I tire me O!
My concern is more of the second instance, "what of if she is going through hell". I do not think that Nolly wood should be supporting the idea of "yes, my man beat me up,locked me out the house, prolly used a hot iron to chase me around the town 7 times but when he came to his senses and said sorry, I just took him back because it is my place". NO!! There are options. I want Nollywood, talking about these men going for some COUNSELING (sp?), Women saying, I can't take this risk with my child here and I am LEAVING and STAYING OUT. I want to see court cases in which Women actually win the rights to keep their kids. I am sorry, I do not blindly support culture and tradition - I wish I could - because this same culture and tradition dictates often times, the powerlessness of women.

lol!! Yes, I typed a lot...:P

Afrobabe said...

lol...u sure did...true...but remember the film industry just mirrors real life...imagine if they only gave us what we wanted to see and not what really could.would/does happen?

'Yar Mama said...

My problem with Nollywood movies is that there are no surprises. From the opening credits, you can predict the storyline. Even sitcoms like Village Headmaster and The Masquerade were much more creative in their storytelling...

pamela said...

afrobabe: but by introducing these options, it opens the eyes of women who are in such a situation to realize that there are other alternatives.
yar mama: I agree but I enjoy seeing the growth that has occured within the industry.

Ishtar said...

I was watching a Nollywood movie in a shop while in Nigeria the other day, and it struck me how much they've developed in terms of production. Maybe if more women get involved, the storylines will change too...? Are there any women Nollywood producers by the way?

EXSENO said...

I guess they just haven't evolved into the modern world yet. They are way behind times aren't they.

pamela said...

ishtar: Unfortunately, Nollywood is pushed by profit. Does it make economical sense to have those story line? Will the mass market buy it? So, the only time that the story line will change is if that story line becomes marketable. Meaning, when women stop using traditionalism to accept certain nonsense and begin to say, we wanted an alternative ending. But, the production HAS improved a lot.

exseno: lol

For the love of me said...

I write for Nollywood and I think this women stereotype thing is cos most of the people in the industry are men so certainly their ideologies will come to play. Because I am a woman I try to create strong female characters but the director still has a lot to do in terms of character interpretation and apart from Amaka Igwe, I think all other Nollywood directors are men so they down play the female xters as much as possible. When more women enter the field, perhaps things will change. On second thoughts I doubt that they will.women probably see themselves in lower eyes than men see them,remember that the 'indecent bill is being sponsored by a woman'.It's a reflection of society I guess.
Thank you for being a fan, people like you keep us going.

Jaybabe said...

Yeah babe i've watched Blood sisters. The 1st time i watched it, i was amazed bcoz it was my first time seeing Patience Ozokwor acting something different from being wicked and all. I loved it. Gene was being very wicked in that movie. Dammmnnn! On the sister's back like that. And Tony Umez portrayed the best weakness of men! Not being able to resist the sister! Shu!!

How you doing babe?

pamela said...

For the love of me: You raise a lot of valid points. Women, are often the oppresors....


Jaybabe: Is it me or does Tony Umez always act the role of the dodo head.!!! :D


:P

pamela said...

For the love of me: You raise a lot of valid points. Women, are often the oppresors....


Jaybabe: Is it me or does Tony Umez always act the role of the dodo head.!!! :D


:P

nneoma said...

first: Tony Umez, from what I have seen, always acts as the dodo head, you expressed it perfectly pamela. i, too, thought i was the only one that found him to always play the dunce....

second: i agree with guerreiranigeriana that the best way to change nollywood is to write some screenplays ourselves, though, I am not too optimistic about this option thought...and personally, my blog writing skills should serve as a testament to why i should *not* write a nollywood film. but pamela if you ever wrote one, i would be so on it.

third: for the love me, you write nollywood films....COOOL! Which ones have you written, just curious.

fourth: no one has mentioned Omotola in the list of great female Nollywood actresses. Although I have stated before my preference for Gene, Dakore, Ini and others, I am starting to recognize that Omo-T has the ability to play a wide diversity of roles (convincingly) to a greater extent to some of the others. Oh, and how can I forget the mother of them all, Joke Silva, so multi-talented. When I grow up, I want to be like her (minus the acting and chain smoking).

fifth: in regards to women and nollywood and the topic at hand. i have not seen that particular movie but i have seen many like it. in which women endure years of abuse, and then when the man finally gets it (either a mistress dumps him or doesn't know how to cook or the battered wife suddenly has a child or male child) the battered woman and man finally get back together and all is right. The up side, if there is any, is that at least they are showing that abuse of women is not an okay thing. I think it is a step forward in the right direction by bringing out domestic violence into the public discourse through film. Basically, the message is, beating of women is not socially acceptable - a good first start.

Unfortunately, the way that abuse happens in Nollywood, is not how it happens in the real world. Abusers often apologise for their actions and then just repeat the abuse and apologise cycle over again. The abused continue to forgive. It would be nice if a movie would capture this reality and not simply end with the predictable unrelistic happy note. A non-Nigerian movie that caught me by surprise was Diary of a Mad Black Woman in which the abused woman, even after receiving the apology, decided to part ways with her husband. Many in Christiandom thought this was heretical. However, I applauded the writer for showing that not every situation ends in reconciliation - and frankly in the majority of situations, it doesn't. I think this idea that women should wait until their husbands see the light does more harm than good - and is sometimes counterintuitive to the point that domestic violence is not okay. It perpetuates this idea that women are meant to simply bear with the marriage, regardless of adultery or abuse. It annoys me to no end, because I have witnessed it time and time again in my own family (minus my parents - they, especially my dad, are very anti-bear-with-the-marriage-crap)

I agree women in nollywood take one of two roles - the angel or the b****. I think the same is also correct for men - their the roles are quite limited. It think roles for both men and women need to be somewhat nuanced a bit.

wow, this should have been a post....sorry about that, pamela

aworan said...

I have to admit that everytime i see a lead female character in a Nollywood production, it tends to be one dimensional with depictions of severe vunerability. I mean, whats up with that???

anonymous gal said...

Infact that film annoyed me.nollywood films have that effect on me but i kip goin bac to them

pamela said...

Nneoma: I agree with most things that you typed so far. I will like to add that no one mentioned Omo T because I said that I was watching movies that Gene was the main actress. Omotola is a great actress but I believe that Genevieve is better. But, then it might be a preference thing.


aworan: abeg ask your people - that is what I am asking what is up with that.


anonymous gal: LOL!! Thank Goodness, you understand my annoyance.


:-D

nneoma said...

ah, Pamela, i beg to differ...Omo T is definitely better...but let's leave that discussion for another day...so happy you decided to stay in the blogosphere...looking forward to the next post.

SOLOMONSYDELLE said...

There need to be more Nigerian women writing, producing, directing, and distributing Nollywood film. There are so many incredible writers whose works can be adapted and there are already women making films but some of them are limited to the demands of the market and their financiers.

Thanks for raising this topic. It's got me thinking...


NIGERIAN CURIOSITY
IT WAS SO MUCH EASIER WHEN I ONLY HAD ONE...

pamela said...

lol!! Nneoma as I said na preference thing. Let's look at the movie blood sisters, who acted their role more convincingly and be honest - Gene did. She owned that role!! LOl, but that is a discussion for another day.


solomonysdelle: I completely agree with you. :-)

pamela said...

Joke Silva, Olu Jacobs etc all came from a time period when people were going into theatre arts because they enjoyed it rather than the money. Their acting skills are definitely better than the newer breed peeps.

AN IBO DUDE'S CORNER said...

half the names mentioned here, i have no idea who they are...maybe cos i dont like naija movies

long time no come here
how body?

AN IBO DUDE'S CORNER said...

i thought i left a comment here....

tobenna said...

The Nigerian Film Industry
Bad news oh.

A few years ago I went to Zambia.
Got off the plane, got to immigration and presented my passport.
'Aah, you are a Nigerian?'
'Yes ke', I answered proudly.
'Eesh. You men are very weak oh. Why do you allow your women to put you in bottles?'
I'm like, what in the world is this woman talking about.

Last weekend, a Zim friend told me her mother refused her sister marrying a Nigerian guy that lived in Lagos because they feared she would not return alive. The guys mum would have her for breakfast.
Nigerian movies aka home video
Serious oh.

pamela said...

lol . So funny!!!

:-D


hehehehe... I am rolling on the floor with laughter here.

Risquediva said...

r we fighting!!!

La Reine said...

The best movie I've seen is Sitanda.
Wouldn't be surprised if its not Nollywood.

The industry would change if Actresses wouldn't take the roles and writers got the message about putting them in.
-I suppose the country changing wouoldn't hurt...
Takia

Simi Speaks said...

Unfortunately we have all come to accept the sub-standards in the film industry.

i thk we are a long ways from creating in-depth thought provoking movies. 9ja has been such a capitalist society. anything to make a quick buck.

And that includes making mindless movies!

pamela said...

la reine: true talk.


Simi: You just hit on another aspect of the nonsense we see from naija movies which is the acceptance of buyers of the la crapo that is sold to them.

Ms. Catwalq said...

1. How to change the women in Nigerian movies: have EDUCATED women, write and produce the flicks.

2. The maltreatment (is that a word? i got it off "maltreat") of women in our culture: we need to start fighting for ourselves and stop being concerned with the price of lace and aso oke (for Yoruba women...I don't know what the Igbo woman's poison is)

Oluwatoyin Ajao-Dawodu said...

There are so few or no Nigeria movie that are gender sensitive. All are to bring the worst out in women. What message are they passing to the world? I have stopped watching Nigerian movies cos they are make me sick with thier bad display or comments about women. Do you even want to try some dirty proverbs?

UNIFEM was working on review such derogatory remarks and scene by calling together some stakeothers in civil society to partake in the crusade.
The outcome? I dont know but I have some plans in the offing. Care to work with me? I don't like the wrong portray of women. It's being going on for too long

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