Sunday, September 17, 2006

postheadericon Movie Review: Abeni (2006) Nigeria

Actors: Sola Asedeko, Amzat Abdel Hakim, Jide Kosoko, Aboh M.
Akinocho, Kareem Adepoju, Moufoutaou Akadiri, Idowu Philips, Bukky Wright

Director: Tunde Kelani

Release Date: 2006 April

Language : Yoruba with English subtitles

Watch out Hollywood and Bollywood, for there's a new kid in town! Its name is Nollywood, it hails from Nigeria and is all set to take this neighborhood by storm! It's true, Nollywood or the Nigerian film industry is one of the largest in the world today and poised to get bigger. According to the Guardian.UK :
In Nigeria, the average film costs between £10,000 and £15,000, is shot on video in about a week, and released into a bustling market where 100,000 videos are sold in one morning.

Nigeria is a young democracy (about 6 years old) and making videos or movies is one way for young Nigerians to tell their stories after years and years of having no freedom of speech. Last night, at the TIFF showing of "Abeni" Tune Kileni, the director, informed us that there are atleast 50 new releases in Lagos every week! If that's true, Nollywood sure leaves Hollywood and Bollywood in the mud!

Coming back to Abeni, although it was the toast of Africa at the film festival, to me the story lacked depth and conviction and the cinematography lacked the slickness of Bollywood. From the sets, the acting. the horrible canned music playing in the background right through the movie and the quality of production, I would have preferred to have it classified as a home-made movie.

Like I said, the story lacked depth, but after talking to a couple of regular Nigerian- film goers I have concluded that most Nollywood films are about young people going to university, rich people having affairs (a la our mid-morning soap operas on the idiot box) or films about rich girl marrying poor boy and getting hell from the parents because of it. I guess, what I am trying to say is that, the industry is not big on social issues, they prefer pot boilers with cliffhanging endings, however, Abeni was worth watching because it showcases the unique Yoruba culture that flows between Nigeria and Benin.

Let me include a short synopsis from Rotten Tomatoes:

Abeni (Sola Asedeko) is a beautiful, ambitious young woman born to a rich father. Akanni (Abdel Hakim Amzat) is a handsome young man who has pulled himself up from poverty. When he was a child, his father worked for Abeni's father and the children were sweethearts, but Akanni's recklessness led to his whole family relocating across the Nigerian border to Cotonou, in Benin. When Abeni and Akanni meet by chance as adults, their romantic fate is sealed. He is already engaged and she is set to be married off by her father, but this couple has other plans.


hellomelissa said...

hellotus! oh, am i getting clever or what?! :) i'm sorry this film didn't live up to your expectations. maybe the future of nollywood is brighter than the present.

Lotus Reads said...

What!?! You're here again, Melissa? It is nice and cosy here, isn't it? :)

Jokes aside - thank you for visiting and for your comment!

sruthi said...

loootuss have you seen Tsotsi? Is that even in Nigeria? i forget. i tried to watch that but got distracted by other things like my yummy thai takeout food and my friend talking non stop during the movie haha!

also, why do these film industries in different countries feel the need to name themselves _________wood after Hollywood??!? Maybe it gets them some recognition as to, ohhh this is such and such country's movie production but most of all, it gets a "how laaaameee" from me. If they can be creative in coming up with movies, how hard can itbe to come up with an original name for your film industry?!

Lotus Reads said...

Hi, Sruthi!

Sorry for taking so long to respond to your comment. For some reason blogger doesn't notify me anytime someone comments on this (Anthropologist) blog!

To answer your question, yes, I have seen "Tsotsi" and just LOVED it! It was set somewhere in South Africa, I believe, also, it was that country's nomination for the Oscars (in the foreign film category )for which I believe it won best film. You'll need to check the facts, tho'

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