Nollywood: Coming soon to a cinema near you?

Hollywood has forever been at the forefront of cinematic production and distribution, forming a primary sector of western culture and civilisation. You and I would both agree it would be unforeseen to have grown up in modern society without having been exposed to some product of the industry. The sheer scale of production can be witnessed in that for the first time in the history of Hollywood, revenue at the 2015 global box office crossed $38 billion (The Hollywood Reporter 2016). However, in a rapidly globalising world, our exposure to new and evolving film industries has augmented, resulting in the smudging of lines between modern and traditional, high and low, and national and global culture (Khorana 2016). Our society has consequently seen an emergence of interrelated film industries, one of particular interest being Nollywood, of Nigeria – and it’s quite a big deal!

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“Living in Bondage” – 1992 drama thriller directed by Chris Obi Rapu

Nollywood, even though now is the third largest film industry worldwide, reveals stark disparities to its more renowned counterpart. Unlike Hollywood, films produced by the industry are done so on a very limited budget. Rather than focusing on special effects and high quality acting, Nollywood “values the entertainment of its clientele” (Okome 2007, p. 2). The primary mission of the industry is to provide entertainment value, drawing on a “mixture of melodrama and magical culture” as well as “corruption as a motif” (Khorana 2016). Essentially, the storylines transpire from traditional Nigerian stories, attributing profoundly to their popularity and focus to “produce culture from the bottom of the street, so to speak” (Okome 2007, p. 2).

“Spider Girl” Trailer – 2015

Beyond the unprecedented success of which Nollywood holds claim to within Nigeria, the popularity of such films is emergent amongst western culture, attributed unequivocally to rapid globalisation and their hybrid nature. Okome (2007, p.3) argues that the form and content “reminds the casual observer of the obvious ties it has to the complicated trade in global media images even when the point has been made of its unique place in world media culture”.

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An example of the low budget and simplistic cinematography which is characteristic of Nollywood films

References:

Khorana S, 2016, ‘Global Film: Nollywood and Korean Cinema’ PowerPoint slides, BCM111, University of Wollongong, delivered 16th August 2016

Okome, O 2007, “Nollywood: Spectatorship, Audience and the Sites of Consumption” Postcolonial Text, Vol 3, No 2, pp. 2-3

Featured Image:  “De Nollywood” by secretlondon123, licensed under Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Published by susiealdermann

Fifth Year Bachelor of Communications and Media/ Bachelor of International Studies (Dean's Scholar) student

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