Continuity – an alien concept in Nollywood movies.

Nollywood Movies

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Nollywood refers to the Nigerian movie industry. America has Hollywood, India has Bollywood, and we have Nollywood.

I used to love watching Nigerian movies in the early days when they were well scripted, and well acted. An example of one of my favourites from back then is Violated, starring Richard Mofe-Damijo, Ego Boyo and Joke Silva.

I am not implying that they are not well scripted anymore. Heaven knows a lot can happen between when the writer drops his pen, and the final scene is filmed. And a lot more happens in the cutting room.

The last few Nollywood movies I watched  were quite disjointed. Imagine a group of scriptwriters meeting up for lunch before going on to film their respective movies. Their scripts are loose sheets of paper in a folder. They get carried away during lunch and indulge in a bit of horseplay across the table. The folders fall down, the pages get mixed up, and are  stuffed back in haphazardly. The scriptwriters depart, and filming commences. Picture what the resulting movies would be, and you get the gist of a typical Nollywood movie. No co-relation at all between the beginning, middle and end of the plot. No indication that there was a plot in the first place. To be fair though, I have found this to be far more prevalent in Yoruba movies.

This however is not what I’m griping about. What really, really gets me is the continuity issue, or the lack of it.

You are watching a storyline unfold over several years. The only thing is that the hairstyle and nail polish of the actress remains the same. Throughout. This would not matter if it was her own hair, and she had it in a bunch or an updo or so, but seriously, who rocks the same weave-on or wig for years on end? Or it could be that she has two different hairstyles. And I mean different. So on day one, she is wearing the ‘million braids’ style. (This style can take anything up to 72 hours to get done). On day two, she has a short, nicely cropped weave-on. And on day three, she is back in her ‘million braids’. For real? Who does that?

Maybe I am nit-picking, and the vast majority of Nollywood’s viewing public do not care about such ‘minor’ details, but there it is. It niggles at me. I am willing to overlook stilted performances, actors/actresses murdering using a fake American or English accent to emphasize the fact that they are returnees. I can even ignore the recent explosion of non-black ‘actors’ in Nigerian movies who can not act to save their lives, whose performances are even more wooden than the furniture they loll against, and whose only redeeming factor is the fact that they are non-blacks playing the role of non-blacks. (Seeing a light-skinned black person with a poorly fixed weave-on playing the role of a non-black person is excruciatingly painful). I can happily ignore matrons playing the roles of young nubile lasses. Or those with portly figures, both male and female, squeezing themselves into clothes designed for slimmer frames……

but the absence of continuity gets me every time. I’m happy to be proven wrong, so if you can recommend any movies that do not fall prey to any of the peeves listed above, I am happy to view them. The only stipulation I have is that the entire storyline be wrapped up in not more than two instalments.

And I leave you with a line that no self-respecting movie  would dare end without, no matter its subject matter. ‘To God be the glory’.

Thanks as always, for stopping by.


About Joxy

When I'm not cooking or thinking about cooking, then I'm writing, or thinking about writing. I love misdirection....nothing is ever what it seems!
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38 Responses to Continuity – an alien concept in Nollywood movies.

  1. My dear, you and me both (it being a pet peeve, I mean)! I loved ‘Violated’ too, it’s one of my all-time favourites. I don’t watch the movies as often as I used to because I got frustrated by the following (and I hope you have time!)
    – background music so loud you can barely hear the dialogue
    – poor or no continuity
    – inappropriate casting
    – forced false accents
    – poor acting, and sometimes over-acting
    – stilted dialogue bearing not even a remote resemblance to the way real people speak
    – poor grammar
    …and the list goes on.

    Admittedly there are few directors, producers and script writers doing a really good job but they face numerous obstacles in their quest to deliver high-quality movies. The industry is relatively unstructured, copyright is just a word and the rules are made up as they go along. The few professionals who seek to buck the trend are often left out of pocket as unfortunately the vast majority of the audience like the movies just the way they are and any attempt to change the status quo falls flat on its face.

    I hope and pray that the exposure to hollywood some of the professionals are getting will have a positive influence on the new generation of nollywood movies we will see in the near future.

    In the meantime, some recommendations – The amazing grace, Black Gold, Ije; the journey, Aromire; the figurine and Anchor Baby. I’ve only watched the first but have been eagerly awaiting the rest for a few months now.

    • Joxy says:

      Ore, thanks for such a detailed comment. I was tempted to go back and edit my post to include some more peeves like the background music that swells to a crescendo for nothing that can be discerned from the plot…but you’ve done a good job in summarising most of what is wanting from Nollywood movies. Thanks for the recommendations, now to go and hunt them down 🙂

  2. Deronk says:

    Hmmmmm…. Guess the same thing puts us off… Nollywood needs help…. From what you mentioned even to the title at times, I begin to wonder… Tea and Coffee is the most recent I watched and am wondering Tea and Coffee??? Like seriously? This issue came up on radio this morning; why no Nigerian movie was nominated in the foreign category (Oscars) despite been d 3rd largest movie producer abi na 2nd sef… and continuity was mentioned, same old story line, picture quality, the acting itself, translation (with Yoruba movies from Yoruba to English) and so on… That y i stick to watching Tunde Kelani’s movies… I know I am getting value for my money. Tade Ogidan too does lovely movies. Hear Figurine is good (haven’t watched it so I really can’t say). Anchor Baby?? Noooo… Might have been shot in Canada and all but still don’t get the morale of the movie. Through the glass by Stephanie, am gonna watch that dis night so I would drop by later to let you know how far. Heard Ije too is nice. Aromire too I hear it’s nice. Black Gold isn’t yet out but sure would be the 1st Nigerian movie I would go watch in the cinemas that I would pay for. I woulda done dat for Ije and Figurine but fear of watching and discovering I wasted my money stopped me… and Anchor Baby didn’t change that (thank God I didn’t pay for it). I think it is only Amazing Grace you can get on CD to watch at the moment… Great movie too… Else, you might just want to buy the Saworoides, Arugbas and other Tunder Kelani’s movies and watch. Not perfect but much much much better than the crap they sell now…. plus great stories..

    • Joxy says:

      Another detailed comment, thanks Deronk :). Translation from Yoruba to English? Don’t get me started. Apart from the extremely poor translation, often times the translation comes about three or four sentences after the translated speech was made. And in some movies, the audio is not even in sync with the speech…I could go on and on but…So you don’t like Anchor Baby? Never heard of it before today, but might give it a try, will give you feedback on my opinion if I do. I enjoyed Mummy Dearest by Tade Ogidan, don’t think I’ve seen any others by him. Tunde Kelani? Never heard of him but quite happy to check out his movies. So you would recommend Saworoide? Which others? Will put Amazing Grace, Ije, Aromire & Figurine on my list, please let me know what you think of Through the Glass after you’ve watched it. Thanks for stopping by 🙂

      • Deronk says:

        I don’t like Anchor Baby o… Still not gotten round to watching Through the Glass… Hopefully by weekend. Tade Ogidan movies: Dangerous Twins (Ramsey Nouah), Diamond Ring (RMD and Teju Babyface), Out of Bounds (Bimbo Akintola), Ayomide, Playing Games, Owo Blow (Ogogo).. His movies are pretty old and I haven’t watched (or can’t remember watching) Playing Games and Ayomide. Madam dearest is the latest he has done and that was like 2005. Tunde Kelani (Mainframe Pictures); mostly Yoruba movies but very very sound movies. I have watched a lot of them. He has the none Yoruba ones also. I have watched and would recommend Saworoide, Oleku, Ti Oluwanile, Ayonimofe, Koseegbe, Agogo eewo, Thunderbolt (Magun), Abeni (he did this with some Benin people and had Oliver Nel sing his Baby Girl song- can still remember the scene), Yellow Card, Campus Queen. Others he has done but I haven’t watched; Maami, Arugab and Narrow Path.

        • Joxy says:

          Wow Deronk, such a long list, thanks for the recommendations. I’ll see which of them I can track down so I can begin building my Nollywood movie collection 🙂

      • Deronk says:

        Maami is actually not yet out.

        • Joxy says:

          Just been to TK’s website, looks like it would be worth seeing, nice pictures of readers and their mothers too.

      • Deronk says:

        Back again. Inale too I hear is great

    • Deronk says:

      Please, please and please. On my knees begging, don’t watch through the glass…. *smh* for that movie

  3. Ibhade says:

    Laughing…m-e-h-n! you are so on point! minor details niggles me also! it’s one of the reasons that i don’t watch nollywood films! Esp the hair styles & nails! Our actresses are so vain! In OMO GHETTO, Akindele was versatile with her hairstyle, but that cannot be said about her best friend in the movie & the ghetto babes!

    I was opportuned to watch the making of a kids musical video during the weekend that is nothing to write home about o jare, i noticed some dirt on the inter-locking tiles where the kids were dancing, i called the attention of the director, who told me, i should not worry, that it does not matter!
    Alas! i decided to get a copy of the cd when it comes out next month & specifically look for that spot to see if it showed,!.

    • Joxy says:

      Ib, after reading your review of Omo Ghetto on your blog, I knew that was one film I won’t be watching. As for the musical video, when directors themselves don’t care about quality, which way forward? The thing tire me jare.

  4. myne Whitman says:

    Seems I came late to the party, the other comments done said it all. To be honest though, I stopped paying attention to continuity some time ago since it was so prevalent. The main peeves for me now are picture quality, editing and sound. Nollywood still has a long way to go.

    However, I saw Amazing Grace on Netflix here, great. I watched Inale and Anchor Baby at the Nigerian cinemas and was impressed. I also look forward to seeing Ije and Figurine.

  5. Deronk says:

    Letters to a stranger is another lovely Nollywood movie… Fred Amata directed it… and dat Yemi Blaq’s pidgin English line??? Still got stars in my eyes

  6. I have decided that I am not their target market. It is such a shame that Nollywood has not grown as quickly and as well as the Nigerian music industry.

    • Joxy says:

      You’ve given up on them completely? From all accounts, the new crop of films seem to be much better, I’ll do a review once I’ve watched about five off my list.

  7. Chizy K says:

    You are not alone my dear, I cringe when i watch Nigerian movies, the fake acting kills me, i’d rather watch old ones like onome and love without language. Imagine seeing Genivive in the background yet they claim she’s dead. Or Stephanie beat up Ini Edo to the extent that her face is swollen and scared but the next day the injuries heal perfectly without even a slight scar. How about part 1, part 2, part 3 and part 4, thats 8 discs for a movie that shldn’t be longer than 90minuites?
    Well i love your blog, check mine out and follow me if you enjoy it

    • Joxy says:

      Yes, the dragging out of a storyline just to fill up discs is quite irritating. Here’s hoping the new crop of film-makers buck the trend. Thanks for stopping by, will be sure to check out your blog too 🙂

  8. Vera Ezimora says:

    Joxy, you’re unstoppable oooo! You changed your theme again??? Love this one. Anyway, per the movie …. girl, don’t get me started, please. I have talked, and talked, and talked. And talked. I talk no more. I even watch no more. However, I am looking forward to watching Anchor Baby because (A) I heard it’s a good movie, and (B) my girl, Omoni Oboli is in it.

    Watch all Naija movies at your own risk.

  9. Vera Ezimora says:

    I forgot to mention, I loveeeeeeeed Violated. I still remember the scene where Ego Boyo burst into the room to confront her rapist cause she remembered that while raping her, he was saying, “Sweet banana sweet…” Anyway, she burst into the room with a fiery anger, and said, “You dirty, rotten bastard!” LOL 😀

  10. I had to come back and read this post.
    Glad to know so many other people feel frustrated also
    Makes me wonder who their target market is.
    I cant even watch one with my kids anymore :((((

    • Joxy says:

      The thing tire me. I don’t think family viewing is paramount in the minds of the majority of the film producers in Nollywood. Most films nowadays have excessive making out, drug taking and guns as standard parts of their plot. Nigeria we hail thee.

    • Deronk says:

      Do they have a target market? All they are interested in is THEIR POCKETS. That’s why they can release crap everyday. Watch what with kids? Olorun maje. Not married but when I do and the kids start coming, except they are still showing Super Story sha (which I stumbled on some scenes recently- haven’t watched it in years, and I almost choked). That might be the only thing I would watch on TV with my children. It is just sad

  11. Check for a lot more you haven’t noticed 🙂

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