Bless Me



I’m not a big fan of “American films” or rather I don’t go the movies very often, but I do watch movies all the time.  In addition to being a recovering Bollywood fanatic (and No I don’t mean the Slum dog Millionaire—fakeseque appropriated Bollywood—lol)  I watch Nollywood films— like any “genre” they run the gamut, from comedy to drama to love story. 


Nollywood films as far as I can see are cheaper quality (in terms of camera, lighting— I guess what you call the cinematographic appearance— film majors help me out here) Well, they look like they were shot with a home video camera—- a lot of the time.  But it has its charms.


I’ve heard discussions about Nollywood that make reference to its often reference to fetishes and spiritual happenings and other wise superstitious stuff.  Ok, make of that what you will, not really my thing.  I think Nollywood films though are familiar to me in the cultural references and values they display: bodily gestures, sayings like “god forbid” as snap your fingers twice, or “the difference between khaki and leather”  you can’t get that anywhere else. 


I watched the movie “Bless Me” on Youtube last week, and found it to have an important moral: be careful what you wish for.  It’s about a man who prays and is in church 24/7 but is really poor.  He keeps asking God why aren’t I a rich man.  Well God makes him rich and we see why, because being rich makes him temperamental, rude and ruthless…. And he eventually goes too far. 


When I watch Nollywood I think about the first time I saw a Bollywood film and how it helped 1000% having my Indian friend there explaining the cultural references: touching feet as a sign of respect, words like Chudiyaan and Kangana, foods like Ladoo etc. 


I wonder if watching NOllywood films without cultural “guides” is weird.  I remember the African Students Association when I was in grad school had a showing of Osuofia in London the Africans were cracking up.  The Black Americans did not get it… oh well. 



2 thoughts on “Bless Me

  1. Nollywood movies are in fact funny no matter the theme b/c you can so relate and compare some of the characters with family members and some situations to your life. Africans can be dramatic and it’s amusing to see on screen. Depsite the low quality and the focus on ju-ju, I still feel that there’s always a message. It is interesting to also see Nigerian society, what people’s preoccupations are, how religions, ethnicism come into play and simply the humanity of it all.
    I haven’t watched one is such a long time but I’m told South Africans are hooked on them! Unfortunately it does not help them sympathise with Nigerians here. I was surprised when someone in the office told me “you’re welcome” when I came in and started to laugh. I knew he had taken it from a Nigerian movie b/c here people just stare at you.

    Last point, mach’Allah, for doing something for Allah, renuncing watching that show.

  2. gazelledusahara

    Yes, that is so true, it’s like watching a Tyler Perry Film. I think that’s why they are so popular within specific communities and those on the outside just don’t get it…lol.

    South Africa is weird in that sense. I definitely peeped that when I used to watch the Africa Channel, the evil characters on Jacob’s Cross happened to be Nigerian crooks, and I think I remember little jokes and such about them… oh well…. Nigerian’s in particular don’t seem to have a “spotless” record in African circles… it’s sad, (419 and other I go chop your dollar scams are the cause of it, no doubt 😦

    but it is great that as vast a continent as Africa is, we still have those commonalities 🙂

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