Summer movie season is upon us, and this year, there’s something for everyone: You want Ramsey Noah as a farmer? You got it. Do you want Dakore Akande as an accomplished 35-year-old single Nigerian woman? You got it. You want Somkele’s Abs? You got those, too.
This year, Nollywood fans have been gifted with a bounty of movies, web series, and short films, proving that Nigerian filmmakers are starting to find new ways—both big and small—to entertain, excite and enlighten. No doubt there are numerous gems to come in the months ahead, but, as the days lengthen and August beckons, here are some of the best cinema releases of the first half of 2017.
- Ojukokoro: The hype started in 2016 after the daring trailer was released. It later premiered at AFRIFF 2016 and got a lot of favorable reviews from those that attended the festival. For the rest of us, we only got the opportunity to see the film earlier this year, and was it good? Ojukokoro was exceptional! The film was written and directed by 25-year-old Dare Olaitan. Ojukokoro starts with great promise and it holds that promise to the end. It is an experience through the power of greed and it is an energetic film. It is also richly textured, wild and an unrelenting work of art. It also features new actors that do an incredible job of the script handed to them. It remains the most memorable film we have seen yet. It has its mistakes but so far, Ojukokoro takes the number one spot on our list.
- Isoken: For many Nigerian women above 25 they face the pressure to get married from society and family. However, these days, young women are valuing career and going after career before marriage, which is a great thing to do. The pressure is alive though, and deeper for women above thirty. Scientists keep releasing reports on what late childbearing can do to a woman; they are never concerned about men. Family members keep having vigils for their daughters. Marriage is a forced goal on every woman and this situation offers Jade Osiberu inspiration for her box-office hit, “Isoken”. Jade Osiberu scripts, directs and produces the experience of many African women, including hers, in what is one of the best films of the first half of 2017. The writing is humorous, music compensates the story and she hires the best actors to help drive her story to success. “Isoken” is still showing in cinemas and following recent reports, it is on its way to setting a few records with its box-office return.
- Slow Country: Eric Aghimien had quite the debut with “A Mile from Home” featuring Tope Tedela, the film received a few AMVCA nods and won Tope Tedela his first award at the AMVCA as a leading man. In May, Eric released another action-packed movie that generated quite the reaction. Slow Country tells the story of Kome, a young helpless single mother who is forced to accept help from Tuvi, a ruthless drug-trafficking kingpin. Six years into their arrangement, she wants out, and when she finally has an encounter with Osas, the love of her life, there is no stopping her. Eric does a good job of balancing good dialogue with great visuals and it is why ‘Slow Country” stands out despite its quiet roll-out at the cinema.
- Omugwo: Nigeria is a multi-ethnic nation. Diversity can serve as inspiration and Kunle Afolayan makes good use of this inspiration to make “Omugwo”. It is a collaboration between the revered filmmaker and Africa Magic. “Omugwo” is the story of Newlyweds, Omotunde, a young civil engineer and Raymond, an Online Radio Personality. After they have their first child, the news travels to his mother, Chimamanda (Patience Ozokwor) and his wife’s mother (Ayo Adesanya). While Chimamanda is consumed by the joy of being a grandmother, Candace loathes the news. One mother represents tradition, the other represents western obsession. “Omugwo” offers education and entertainment proportionately and it is what makes it a winner.
- Hire a Man: Chinney Love made good use of the Valentine season to release a film that blends with the love season and is a reason to hope for those searching for love. Chinney milks a very familiar plot. There are several films with the same story line in Nollywood but Chinney was smart about her narrative. She made a feel good film with incredible actors and used a strong marketing strategy that helped propel her film to box-office success. You want a film that does not make you bother too much about life? See “Hire a Man”!
- Okafor’s Law: A few controversies here and there were enough to boost Omoni Oboli’s already aggressive marketing plan for her third self-produced movie – “Okafor’s Law“. Proponents of “Okafor’s Law” state that, If you have been involved with a girl for a period of time and did a good job in and out of the bedroom, the belief is that you can always go to the girl at any given time and sleep with her again no matter what situation arises.”… We were impressed by most of the actors in this movie, and the cinematography was exceptional. There were some plot holes and unnecessarily extended dialogue but, we would rather have “Okafor’s Law” close our list.
Do you agree with our list?
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