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About: Videos Serve Up Heavy Dose of Evil by Remi Oyo

Wed, 4 Mar 1998 06:51:09 -0800 (PST)

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    Originally dated: Wed, 4 Mar 1998 06:51:09 -0800 (PST)

    > The following appeared on the Africa News of PeaceNet World News
    > Service
    > and is posted with their permission.
    > Copyright 1998 InterPress Service, all rights reserved.
    > Worldwide distribution via the APC networks.
    > *** 24-Feb-98 ***
    > CINEMA-NIGERIA: Videos Serve Up Heavy Dose of Evil
    > By Remi Oyo
    > LAGOS, Feb (IPS) - While writers at times may be at a loss for
    > words, producers of home videos in the vernacular languages of
    > Nigeria always seem to be out of new ideas as they recycle themes
    > of violence, greed and voodoo.
    > ''Once you have seen one local video, you have seen them all -
    > the only difference is that the characters may be different,'' Ade
    > Ifatunmise, owner of a rich collection of videos in Yoruba and
    > Igbo, told IPS. ''The dominant messages are that violence pays,
    > wealth is good and that voodoo works when you desire revenge.''
    > For example, of the seven currently most popular home videos on
    > sale nationwide, one celebrates wealth, another violence, three
    > depict witchcraft and two are about ritual killings. All four
    > themes are topics steeped in this West African nation's age-old
    > culture and tradition.
    > One of the videos, 'Agbo Odaju' (Circle of the Wicked), which
    > is in Yoruba, tells the story of a man who had two wives, but was
    > murdered by a hit squad hired by one of his spouses, who also
    > attempts to knock off the second wife.
    > 'Aje ni iya mi' Yoruba for 'My Mother is A Witch' is one of the
    > best films of the Yoruba video genre, and its theme is that voodoo
    > can be successfully used to settle scores. This film is similar to
    > another called 'Iyawo Alhaji', meaning ''Alhaji's Wife.'' The wife
    > uses voodoo on her perceived enemies in the household. Alhaji
    > discovers this, kills her and is sent to jail.
    > 'Blood Money', written in Igbo and a financial winner in 1997,
    > centres on a man who trades in human body parts to make money.
    > The film highlights particularly the connivance of law enforcement
    > agents with criminals.
    > But Nigerians are beginning to lose patience with these themes,
    > arguing that they are not educational and are quickly losing their
    > entertainment appeal.
    > ''I don't like these videos. I don't like them because they
    > are not educative for my kids. They are not informative and I've
    > not noticed any significant contribution to our social and
    > cultural values,'' says local journa;list Patrick Olajide. The
    > videos tend ''to celebrate evil.''
    > The man in the street agrees. Isaac Adeniyi, a driver, says
    > ''Christian video films are much better. We have found them
    > useful in my church especially for revivals. More and more
    > producers are turning to the production of religious videos,
    > rather than those with social themes which appear to be the same
    > anyway.''
    > Oluwole Peters, an independent producer of English language
    > drama and documentaries, says that ''the themes of the current
    > video films are a reflection of what is happening in society.''
    > But he admits that ''most of the video producers in Nigeria do
    > not really treat the topics (in depth) enough, giving rise to
    > replication or duplications''.
    > Ifatunmise believes that most film producers are more concerned
    > about making a quick buck, and do not pay much attention to the
    > moral benefits of their artistic works.
    > ''The general feeling one gets from watching highly publicised
    > Yoruba films is that they celebrate the negative and unwholesome
    > aspects of human behaviour,'' he says.
    > Some producers have become more critical of their work and are
    > beginning to speak up about the problems with local productions.
    > According to Ola Makinwa who has produced four films, impatience
    > on the part of the producers is the bane of the Nigerian film
    > industry.
    > ''Many of the so-called film producers we have in the country
    > are not producers at all,'' Makinwa argues in a recent interview
    > in the Sunday 'Punch' newspaper.
    > The producers ''are not experienced. And that is why they are
    > always rushing into locations to produce films and they end up
    > having third rate productions,'' Makinwa says, arguing that
    > originality is slowly becoming a thing of the past.
    > ''Many of the film producers just copy what has been produced
    > in foreign films, re-enact the scenes and then get Nigerian
    > actors and actresses together to play the roles so as to give it a
    > Nigerian outlook.'' (END/IPS/ro/pm/mk98)
    > ----
    > [c] 1998, InterPress Third World News Agency (IPS)
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