Bollywood for India, Hollywood for America and Nollywood for Nigeria. If it is not obvious by now, Nollywood is the Nigerian film industry. The most notable thing about it is that it is number 2 in volume of output after Bollywood.
The history of film making in Nigeria is at least 100 years old. However, the term Nollywood became popular in the early 2000s. It is debatable if the term applies to productions older than 1992. That was the year Living in Bondage was released, marking a renaissance for the industry. Whatever the case, Nollywood now refers to a type of film made in Nigeria focusing either on an idealized past or an exaggerated present. There are no futuristic films here.
There are 2 main centers of production, Lagos in the south and Kano in the north. The film industry in Kano is called Kannywood. But for the purposes of this writeup, it is assumed to be part of Nollywood. This subsumation that I just did is one of the reasons why there is no precise definition for Nollywood. Most film production is done in Lagos. However, as with everything in the country, there are disputes due to sectional interests. Some groups refuse to be included in Nollywood for tribal reasons. Further, there is a cultural divide between the North and the South. In the North, Indian movies are probably more popular than Hollywood's. So, Kannywood productions imitate Bollywood styles. Singing and dancing are common in their love stories. Further, most Kannywood movies are about love and marriage. Southern movies have a wider range of themes. The most common, in no order, are:
1. Juju films where someone (a stepmother, mother in law, business rival, jealous sibling etc.) uses magic to harm another. The neutralization of this, usually through the power of Christ is the resolution.
2. Love triangles.
3. Bildungsroman, although here, it would be blended with a Cinderella or Ugly Duckling type situation.
4. A corrupt person who gets his comeuppance.
5. Slapstick comedy.
I think that about covers it.
Most movies in Nigeria generally have the same storyline and one can often guess how the movie would end. There is also a lot of character acting.
I am proud of the accomplishments of the players in the industry even if I do not watch their output. I find their movies extremely boring. However, along with Nigerian music, the movies are wildly popular wherever there are black people. The popularity is so overwhelming in black Africa that in some countries, there is a backlash against the Nigerianization of popular culture because young people speak Nigerian slang, sing Nigerian songs and generally ape what they see on screen. However, the actors are also massively popular. There was a time one of them, Mona Lisa Chinda, went to another country around the same time as the then president, Goodluck Jonathan. A large crowd gathered to welcome her and our president thought the crowd was for him. If our government had any sense, they would have used Nollywood to improve Nigeria's image because I think they are doing a better job than our foreign service in selling our image.
Iron Noder 2020, 29/30