My World Of Movies

My World Of Movies

From what I remember of Nigerian television in my own world, we used to keep a date with the NTA on my Grandfather’s massive TV set (the one with the sliding doors) and of course we would switch it on like way before the startup time of 4pm and sometimes sit there watching those coloured vertical lines with that high pitched tone that goes on in the background. Sesame Street was every kid’s delight then (the ones who had access to TV anyway) and I was not an exception.

In addition to that was my weekly dosage of “Tales by Moonlight” on Sunday evenings, with that lovely lady who sits kids down and tells them stories(I can’t believe I haven’t found her name out till now). And yes, I remember the story telling programmers anchored by Jimi Solanke on weekdays. My then lovely NTA Kaduna had programmes I loved, like the series “Wisdom is an asset”(Magana jari che in Hausa) featuring Mallam Kassimu Yero. I have so many others I cant really recollect, but for me those were the glory years of Nigerian Television (not like I had access to the foreign media then anyways).

I wonder why I enjoyed Nigerian Television then, and I ask myself if it was a case of “when the desirable is unavailable, the available becomes desirable”. Or was it just that as a child I didn’t really have a choice as to quality. Its actually hard for me to conclude on that as I cannot remember the value system of the 4 year old me. I remember I used to also enjoy(?) watching Indian movies, and could go with a Chinese movie till the final credits start to show up, but I doubt if I can sit to watch 5 minutes of any of those now. Well, maybe I know better now.

Growing older brought me in contact with the VCR and the world of foreign movies. I remember that all we knew about a foreign movie then was the shooting, and the “actor” (protagonist) having the “last fight” with the “boss”(antagonist) and of course the ‘boss’ getting killed and the ‘actor’ coming to kiss that babe the ‘boss’ was holding for ransom before that scene. Don’t blame my outlook then on the little kid, rather blame it on Roger Moore, Sean Connery and Pierce Brosnan who allowed themselves to be used in acting out the ‘007’ legend for me to watch. I guess my exposure to the foreign media made me to take stand on my desires in a movie, and I would say I had a falling-out with the Nigerian movie industry, popularly called Nollywood.

I have my personal philosophy as to what a movie should do to the audience, and I think any movie should do at least two of the three things I believe a movie should do. I believe a movie should entertain, educate and inform.

For a movie to entertain, it certainly has to have the comic effect that brings smiles to my face, and I remember getting so much doses of that from the “Charlie, Charlie” (Charlie Chaplin) series on NTA. Of course there are movies solely designed for the comical purpose, but I believe that this effect can be incorporated in movies that do not have the comical theme.

I know that I have learnt things from movies I wouldn’t have known from school or from reading books. Movies have whet my interest in certain world events and thus driven me to make research about them. I remember how movies like “Escape from Sobibor” and “Nuremberg” drove me to make some personal research on WWII and on the man Adolph Hitler.

Even though a movie is not expected to always be about current affairs, or a substitute to the daily news, I believe that a movie can inform. Movies based on true events, or adaptations from true events can inform the uninformed on some renowned subject matter. Maybe that’s why I don’t enjoy Sci-fi and other inanimate movies, I can hardly relate to them or get informed in any way.

I ask myself if I am biased against Nollywood, or maybe I just have this notion that anything that comes from Nollywood is bad.But then I realize that I have had cause to trash some American movies for their poor production standards. And oh yes, I have seen a few (the functional word here been few) movies made in Nigeria that have caught my interest. I have always loved the productions from Mr Tunde Kelani of the Mainframe Productions.

Where does one draw the line between patriotism and placing a high demand on quality? I know I wouldn’t place a price on a good Nigerian movie production because I have this sense of collective achievement when I see a high quality production from the stables of my Nigerian brothers. I am particular about some things in my world, and sometimes when I am forced to watch some Nigerian productions, I spend most of the time criticizing the work so much so that I lose taste of the whole thing.

I sometimes wonder if some of our producers/directors assume that the people watching their movies are daft or stupid. Some presentations can be so bereft of initiative and originality. I once saw a Nigerian movie that I would call a slapstick presentation of the play “Wedlock of the gods” by Zulu Sofola. I felt like crying not just because it was so glaring a case of plagiarism, but the fact that I had taken part in acting out that play while I was in secondary school.

When would our Nigerian producers understand that a good production would always speak for itself, and that we deserve way more than the vermin they serve to us in the name of movies? You think I’m harsh in qualifying their products as vermin, then wait till you have sampled the mindset of majority of the ones who are die hard Nigerian movie audiences. I do not subscribe to Nigerians having the American mindset because I don’t myself, but I believe that we deserve to have a qualitative mindset in our own Nigerian way.


29 thoughts on “My World Of Movies” by abbey (@abbey)

  1. Kudos to u…and to your mind!
    You are not alone…
    Quality is all we ask for…quality and nothing else!

    1. Thanks for the compliments, I was just giving a view of my own world

  2. I love the way you have brought back some good ol’ memories from our childhood days and gradually eased into the harsh realities of today…

    1. Were the ones from our childhood really better, or just the fact that we didn’t know better or had no choice?

  3. The Lady in ‘Tales by Moonlight’, they call her Aunty Nkem I think, she is the Co-ordinator of Children’s Parliament in Abuja.

    1. And the Jimmy Sholanke programme was called ‘Story Land’. Classic.

      1. Thanks for the names guys.
        I remember the song from Jimi Solanke’s…”Story land,story land…”
        But Scopeman,is her name just “Anty Nkem”? no other name?

      2. I loved Storyland…

  4. Hmm .. I like your write-up, its very incisive.

  5. This is quite nice.

    The fact that you are a patriot does not mean you should be blind with it. I love Nigeria – it taught me how to be a man…how to endure and innovate in it’s unique enviroment. That’s not something you can learn elsewhere the same way.

    Thank you for the memories.

    1. Am happy you saw through me on the patriotism angle. I don’t believe in blind patriotism.

  6. Good write-up. And our big men in the house, una still remember those names?! That’s naijastories for you; working brains.

  7. Good. Good. Good. *Clap* *Clap* *Clap*. This is a well-informed article.

    As for me, I don’t watch the trash they do in the Nollywood. Except when the movies concerned are from the few good stables you mentioned in the article. I wonder why one will still waste his time gobbling a movie that can be easily predicted, without failing, from its poster. Pschew…. Nonsense…

    1. Thanks for the compliments, just penning down my thoughts and take on issues.
      You can;t even begin to imagine how frustrated I get when I see some watered down child’s play in the name of movie making, it good to know am not alone in this feeling

  8. Nollywood ke, I better go and watch primary school plays. You’re on point abbey.

    1. Primary school plays??? hahahahahaha, that’s a rather strong comparison

  9. Nice, nostalgic write-up, but I disagree with Ur notion that for a movie to entertain, it must have comic elements. Yes there are movies that have that comic element, good. However some don’t need that ‘Chaplinesque’ comedy within. These movies are usually intense. I love intense movies.

    And the Asians…I think U all should forget d bias about them, and REALLY sit down to watch their movies. Particularly the Koreans; those guys have made some of d best movies I’ve ever watched. It is no wonder that Hollywood remakes their movies. The Departed starring Matt Damon, Mark Wahlberg, Leonardo Di Caprio etc was a remake of Infernal Affairs, and The Grudge and The Ring were remakes of Japanese Horror films. I hope Hollywood doesn’t even touch Chaser, I Saw The Devil, Oldboy (spelled correctly) etc.
    But I digress.

    Well….nice one again. And in the immortal words/lyrics of Fall Out Boy, Thnks Fr Th Mmrs (yes, U read that right.)

  10. Hmmm…abbey nice write up especially the oldies programs and NTA making us long for 4 o’clock every evening but again it’s all good that you see the trash that most of our movies are but…what bit have you played? I think the era of complaints is long gone…I hope I am not being harsh…just my two cents

  11. U r not alone in this cry. The most nauseating thing for me is our ‘best’ acts taking parts in below-average movies.

  12. I used to think that with time, there would be movie producers in Nigeria who would raise the bar of movie production so that other would have no choice but to follow, but now, I’m not so sure.

    There are two approaches to making money in business; either maximise revenue, or minimise cost. ‘Nollywood’ is going for the second option, and that means cutting out a lot of things that would improve quality.

    Until technology enables the production of cheap, good quality movies, I fear that production values of Nigerian movies will continue to be inferior.

    1. Is it about technology allowing cheap, good quality movies or having a yearning for giving out the best?
      People like James Cameron have carved a niche for themselves, and am sure you know that anything he produces now sells like wildfire (Avatar and Titanic alone trump all his other productions like ‘Terminator 1&2’ ‘Rambo’, etc). He actually went for a dive to the ocean bed to get pictures from the original ‘Titanic’, and I guess to also have a a feel of where she lays now.

  13. the movies in nigeria are always almost thesame once you’ve watched one you can be sure you’ve watched all the once that will be realeased subsequently mostly yoruba film, the actors seems to imitate one anothers character.

  14. hi, very interesting article and yes u r on point on everything so far.

    BUT, please give indian and ancient movies a chance o! Try Wanted(Indian), (Redcliff) Japanese movie, i can give u a few more names. Those movies are fantastic. Once u can get past the dancing in the indian movies and the violence in the Japaneses, they have really good and well thought out storylines.
    Thumbs up to your article,

    1. I don’t have anything against the Indian and Japanese stuff, just that I get tired and it gets boring with all the unnecessary scenes

  15. sorry – indian and Japanese movies sorry

  16. bros your write up is ok, but our movie industry must not rest on its oars but keep trying out new ideas and research into producing much better movies with good story lines well done

    1. thanks, and I hope the powers that be in the Nigerian movie industry see it that way

  17. I stopped watching Nollywood movies a long time ago. They suck, yes I’m a patriot but I’m also a realist too. Without sounding utterly pessimistic, I don’t think Naija movies can get any better. Too many players doing it just and only for the money.

    You try jare @abbey. Nice write.

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