You say Cannes Film Festival, I say Nigerian Film Week Paris; you say Hollywood and I say Nollywood; ‘Tomayto’, tomato, lets agree on two things. Neither Cannes nor Hollywood represents the diversity out there in the world and not all of us are interested in being shocked, we would rather have something fresh. By fresh I mean; intriguing stories about the realities out there seen through the eyes of protagonists who actually exist out there in a world many of us would find alien. Well, for something fresh beyond the frames of Cannes or Hollywood, step forward Nollywood Week Paris. Nollywood is so named because it is seen as Nigeria’s answer to Hollywood and is reputed to produce 2,000 films annually.
If you love film but feel jaded by the clichés of Hollywood or the empty ostentation of Cannes and you happen to be in Paris between Thursday 30th May and Sunday 2nd June, then give Nollywood Week Paris a try. As you sink into your seat to take in a Nollywood film, by all means come bearing a popcorn bucket filled with expectation in one hand other but in the other hand go for a beaker fizzing with open-mindedness. The framings of Nollywood films are unwittingly unwestern; an unavoidable authenticity demands this. The film camera might have been invented in the West but while a Hollywood film can take or leave a troupe of actors busting into song and dance, a Bollywood film is almost incomplete without seemingly spontaneous lyrics and choreography. Similarly a Nollywood film, through the eye of the same film camera, will deliver what might seem like far fetched stories but are actually based on strange but common truths. The acting might also seem strange or colourful, but there is just no dampening that Nubian exuberance especially when it comes to something as expressive as acting. This heady mix of exuberance and authenticity is what Nollywood Week presents in a polished format.
Visit the Nollywood Week Paris website and whet your viewing appetite with the trailers of the films to be screened at the festival. Even if you do not have plans to attend the event these trailers might just open your eyes to the alternative world of Nollywood. The site lists the full program of events for the four-day fest and all the social media paraphernalia you need to get acquainted with Nollywood. Happy viewing!
By Depo Olukotun
Nollywood goes to Paris