Here’s my take on critiquing: it is quite a case of obnoxious outrage, as I am certain enlightened people will agreee. This person’s professed expertise is construction of houses. Yet again, the last house she constructed had no structural integrity, for the house had collapsed on the persons living in it and maimed them for life. Still, this constructor says to the victims, when they had shown indignation at her poor standards, “go and build your own house! You people think it is easy to build a house?”
This is people’s lives that we are talking about!
I assert that there is a parallel between that hard-hearted constructor and the hard-hearted person professing filmmaking as her expertise:
- How do you reckon as a custodian of a people’s future as founded on their cultural evolution?
Oh! I suspect the knee-jerk response would be – ehn? Is filmmaking on the same pedestal as custodianship of people’s futures? And even their lives?
Yet, it is this view of Filmmaking in the pejorative that conduces to the very dangerous backward path further and further down into the deathly dark cave of shadows.
The Life in Nollywood Hands…no room for critiquing
Filmmaking is on such a pedestal in many advanced parts of the world. Evidently, the correlation between advancement and high standards of media presentations is definite. Therefore, this medium that has the potential to take a people to the heights of modern civilization cannot be treated so cavalierly, with bold arrogant ignorance – except of course by philistines.
Inveterate Nollywood practitioners would violently repudiate such an association no doubt. Still, in essence, Nollywood’s custodianship of the life in its hands is very much suspect.
In the parallel world of architectural construction, there is a regard for the standards-body that ensures that high building standards are abided by – it’s a no brainer. However, in Nollywood, any attempt at assessment of application of standards to filmmaking meets with reactionary, emotionally unintelligent violence.
“I’m not the filmmaker, you are”
The critiquing industry is a very vital aspect of the media world, providing the essential service of guidance. Most definitely, it opens the gateway to higher tastes and culture. But here, the rat-race induced-fear grips the professed filmmaker wallowing in inferiority complex. They hide under the resulting superiority complex, and produce the angry retort – “Go and do your own film!”
My response to that is – “I’m not the filmmaker, you are”. Just as I would the mad constructor who tells the residents to go and build their own house, forgetting that her substandard building has crashed on their heads and maimed them. “I’m not the house builder, you are”. Also, you are the one who professes to be a filmmaker, so make a good film that meets the world standards and has integrity.
Nollywood generally is akin to the elephant unmoving merely because it is tied to a flimsy plastic chair. Surely, it refuses to develop the ability to imagine alternatives to reality as we know it. This is the first step to making different and better realities possible.
Nollywood filmmakers revel in the fanfare and razzmatazz of the making. Also, they celebrate the distraction from actually making a great or important film. Unfortunately, the result is a set of actors who indicate their acting; scripts with low or no standards; directors repudiating the responsibility of attracting film-goers to the cinema halls; films that makes one wary of the faculties of the filmmakers. By Nollywood, of course, is meant all its derivatives as well – including the Ghanaian movement that called Nollywood names. However fitting, but which is hypocritical and should – to borrow a biblical exhortation – remove the log from its eye in order to see clearly to remove the speck from the eyes of others.
This is where the critiquing industry steps up
This is where the critiquing industry needs to step up. For it cannot sit on the fence any longer, as the lives of several millions are at stake who know not their left from their right. And who are being led back down into the dark caves of ignorance by the one-eyed kings.
It is the enlightened critiquing industry that must call out and show the gateway to building a civilized structure that stands firm.
So, we are residents…and theatergoers; the price of rent. Just like the price of admission into the theater. It qualifies us to protest when the house collapses, or when the film falls shy of the proper standards of the medium.
And when one does take up the building materials and build, it means laying oneself open to protest if one builds rubbish. Or to criticism if one adds to the pool of sentimental garbage called films in Nollywood.