Filmmaking in Nigeria is getting global attention. Years after years, the Nollywood industry is sending the Nigerian story to the world. The world seemed unable to overlook the aroma of the unique stories coming out if Nigeria and the African continent.
Kunle Afolayan, an award-winning director, has done well for himself and the Nigeria movie industry.
The uniqueness of his latest film, “Citation” comes at no surprise to me and I guess to you. For anybody who has been a kin follower of the Nigerian cinema, you will agree with me that Kunle has continued to raise the standard for many Nigerian filmmakers.
“The Citation,” tells the story of a young Master’s Degree student, Moremi Oluwa, (Temi Otedola) at Obafemi Awolowo University, who is determined to get justice after been sexually abused by her most beloved-lecturer, professor Lucien N’dyare, played by Jimmy Jean-Louis. The story portrays a young lady, pushed to the wall with no other choice than to take a stand against the terrible reality of sex-for-marks; rampant in some Nigerian universities.
If you have seen the film, you will agree with me that one beautiful thing about the film is its storytelling. The story might have conveyed a very deep and serious topic, however, the storytelling speaks of a world of innocence, fun and beauty.
The story is significant. Just like the legendary story of Moremi, the queen, who volunteered to go undercover to bring down the Igbo community that has been terrorizing her kingdom for decades, Morami, in “Citation” risked her career all to spearhead the fight against sexual harassment on campus.
As a screenwriter myself, I am of the belief that the success of a film depends largely on the script. One thing that endears me to this film is its screenplay, by legendary screenwriter, Tunde Babalola. As usual, he has shown classed with his telling of this story. He paid attention to details and ensure that there is an interlock in the plot arrangement.
Told with numerous flashbacks, the cinematography was unquestionably outstanding. The director ensured that he showed off the beauty of the primary location of the film, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ife, with incredible shots that whet appetites. Kunle Afolayan didn’t only narrate the story, he took the viewers on a journey to discover the story. The lightening technique for every scene unique added value to the storytelling.
The languages employed are essential parts of the storytelling of this film. With the four languages spoken in the firm, English, French, Portuguese and Yoruba, Kunle Portrayed an African film with a global appeal. The versatile use of languages, gave the speakers of the languages a sense of belonging.
OAU is called the most beautiful campus in Africa for a reason, Kunle Afolayan made this fact obvious with his decision to use the university. The beauty of Senegal and Cape Verde. was also brought to fore with the exotic locations employed for the setting.
Are you surprised the character of Professor N’dare was portrayed to the optimum? Well, the actor behind that role, Jimmy Jean-Louis, is a top Haitian-American actor. His acting is not in doubt. For Moremi’s role, Temi Otedola did absolutely well for a first-time actress. I think she was able to portray the innocence of the character Morami well because of her seeming innocence as a debut actress on set.
I must not fail to acknowledge other actors and actresses who gave their best to make the film the 6th most-watched movie in the world on Netflix in November. Joke Silva, Adjetey Anang, Ini Edo, Ibukun Awosika, and others.
The film ambitiously portrayed themes such as love, friendship, betrayal, justice, determination and others too numerous to mention.
Despite the special place, this film holds in my heart, I must say that I have some problems with the chemistry of Moremi and her boyfriend, Koyejo played by Gabriel Afolayan. The scene where the lover was walking down the hallway was particularly unpopular for me. It seemed dragged and the acting seemed forced.
I must also say that I have issues with the length of the film. While the film is fun to watch, I think it dragged a lot. For instance, the scene I alluded to about Moremi and boyfriend Koyejo, dragged beyond necessary. Also, the scene shoot in Cape Verde was not entirely needed. They didn’t essentially add to the development of the story.
Kunle Afolayan made the film with a strong passion. His motivation was beyond the desire for international recognition or business gains, it’s his heartbeat. The passion with which he made the film “Citation” is evidence in the unforgettable and striking message that the film conveys to the world.
“For many months, she lived within my heart and it is even hard to this day to separate the two of us. I hope I was able to be a vessel for countless girls in this country who will not get the chance to tell their story. That is the heart of ‘Citation’ for me.” Kunle Afolayan reveals.
The acquisition of the film “Citation” Netflix is a testimonial to the fact that the film is storytelling at the best. Which is quite unusual.
Kunle Afolayan has not claimed perfection concerning his work, he is however sure that his achievement around the world motivate young storytellers in Nigeria and Africa that they can get the attention of the world with their genuine efforts at telling African unique stories.
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