Saturday, September 27, 2008

Nollywood Babylon

While in Ethiopia, I spent quite a bit of time watching Nigerian films on a station called "African Magic". I also watched local Ethiopian films, but my Amharic is less than adequate. I could get the idea, but not the ins and outs. Nollywood films, on the other hand, were exciting, intense, hilarious, and, almost always, involving someone possessed. Tough to look away, I tell you.

I also saw an amazing paper at a conference in Durban, SA on the topic of spirit possession, feminism and Nigerian film by Adedayo Ladigbolu Abah of Washington and Lee University. The paper was called “One step forward, Two Steps Backwards: African Women in Nigerian Videofilm”. Speaking with Adedavo, she talked about just how much people in Nigeria and the Nigerian diaspora watch these films. The fellow in the trailer who says he watches three, five a day is not unrealistic. Heck, check out YouTube, and you can watch quite a few of 'em. And, yes, I can't deny that I wasn't happy when I saw the one titled Stone Love

Given the tremendous popularity of these movies, Adedavo said, we really should be taking a closer look at what they are saying and doing. This documentary might be a start--I'm dying to see it.

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