Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Rights Reel: Nollywood Babylon and more


This month we are reading Noo Saro-Wiwa's account of visiting her homeland, Looking for Transwonderland: Travels in Nigeria. As part of soaking in the local ambiance, the author takes in some Nigerian cinema and meets up with a local film director. If you'd like to learn more about Nollywood, the world's third largest film industry, Nollywood Babylon will take you there. This documentary is readily available through Amazon Instant and Netflix streaming. The film is worth it not just for insights into modern Nigerian storytelling and entrepreneurship, but also the glimpses it gives of Lagos' vibrant street life. The relationship between the film industry and evangelical Christianity is also explored.

While we are revisiting the Saro-Wiwa legacy, there are two other films available via Amazon and Netflix that Loyal Readers may be interested in. One is the documentary Delta Boys which investigates the stories of anti-government rebels in the oil-rich Niger Delta. The other is a BBC mini-series Blood & Oil. It's not the BBC's finest hour, but the drama features a young, naive Nigerian ex-pat woman, the daughter of a prominent judge, who returns to Nigeria after rebels have kidnapped some British oil workers, so it's an interesting companion to Transwonderland.  Plus, I'm always interested in how human rights issues get processed through popular culture. Fair warning though, if you are sensitive to on-screen violence, you should proceed with caution with both these films.
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