Over the decades, film has become a prolific source of entertainment. This phenomenon has had global impact such that the cinema has come to have its own nuances and develop its own industry. Film has assumed worldwide status because of its aesthetical appeal. Aesthetics, a concept derived from philosophy is an important issue in cinema production from Hollywood to Bollywood. In Nigeria’s motion picture industry colloquially called Nollywood, the youngest film tradition in the world, the third largest and fastest growing, it has often been said that quantity has replaced quality. But how true is it that Nigerian filmmakers have sacrificed beauty and appeal for numbers? This dissertation is preoccupied with ascertaining the validity of this claim.
OBJECTIVES OF STUDY
This dissertation is concerned with
First, discovering the extent to which attention is given to aesthetics in film production in Nigeria, signifying the prevalent approaches to production- scripting, screenplay, acting, filming and other aspects of production.
Second, to open an avenue for an in-depth study of film production in Nigeria and thus facilitate a scholarly assessment and prepare a fascinating documentation on the subject.
Third, effect documentation on the major directors in the Nigerian film industry and the styles and techniques they deploy in their works.
Fourth, identify common mistakes and production errors in Nigerian video film production and proffer solutions for better filmmaking.
SCOPE OF STUDY
The focus of this study is to explain what film aesthetics is and indicate the extent to which attention is paid to it in Nigerian movies’ production. More so enunciate the techniques and approach of prominent directors in the industry with emphasis on such aspects of film production as story structuring and plotting, screenplay, colour, montage, music and other aspects of film aesthetics and also indicate the factors that are responsible for Nollywood’s sustenance of its audience’s interest.
STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
The main thrust of this essay is finding out to what extent beauty and appeal is given attention in Nigerian motion picture production using the work of selected filmmakers as a case study.
JUSTIFICATION OF STUDY
A work as this is long overdue considering the fact that the industry is growing very rapidly. There is the need for a document that deals with aspects of production particularly the technical area of aesthetics, which is currently neglected.
The selected Nigerian video film directors are the most prominent directors in the industry; their works exhibit a high level of artistry in video production. Their works are highly acclaimed blockbusters and they seem to have a certain philosophy and style to work which is worthy of investigation.
This research will employ the following methodologies and techniques in ascertaining the validity of its claim: Library and archival materials (books, monographs, articles on film, newspapers reviews); in-depth interviews with the selected Nigerian video film directors and fieldwork (participatory observation).Film locations will be visited to see first hand how film production is done in Nigeria. Also, artistic materials pertinent to this study will be examined.
Chapter one is concerned with getting the reader of this essay acquainted with the structure and motive of this work. It also introduces the reader to what film aesthetics is about.
Chapter two reviews the subject of aesthetics and its many branches especially as its relates to film
Chapter three is preoccupied with examining the aesthetics of Amaka Igwe-Isaac.
Chapter four is saddled with exposing how Muyiwa Ademola packages his works such that gives the astonishing appeals.
Chapter Five deals with the styles and technique of Tunde Kelani
Chapter six will explain the prospects of directing in the Nigerian film industry and also proffer solutions to the better production.
LIMITATION OF STUDY AND REASONS FOR CHOICE OF CASE STUDY
This study is restricted to developments in the Nigerian film/motion picture industry, strictly to the directing styles and techniques of three selected Nigerian film directors; home video directors in the strict sense because it is the primary mode for which they package their works. Also because the selected Nigerian directors are not grounded in theories it is somewhat difficult to tell the theories that form their styles but this problem is surmounted by subtextual and intertextual readings of their works.
This study is restricted to three directors of the vast number available in the industry, because each one of them represents a particular genre of films in the industry. Amaka Igwe-Isaac represents Igbo filmmaking, Muyiwa Ademola represents contemporary Yoruba filmmaking, Tunde Kelani stands for traditional and a more philosophical Yoruba filmmaking. Also they are chosen because of the level of artistry and aesthetics, which their films exhibit.
DEFINITION OF TERMS
Aesthetics is a branch of philosophy that is concerned with the notion of the beauty and the uncomely. It is both the study of beauty and the properties of a system that appeals to the sense, as opposed to the content, structures and utility of the system itself.
Film aesthetics or aesthetics in film has to do with the study of film and its properties that appeal to the audience’s interest and fancy. It can also be described as the study of the systems of aesthetics that are brought to bear in the production of a motion picture and an evaluation of its effects on that movie and the audience. Aesthetics in film include such filmic elements as storyline, acting, dialogue, lighting, camerawork, music, costume, make-up, scenery, editing, montage etc.
Directorial Style is a director’s way of packaging his film. The director is the auteur of a film; he is the supervisor of the actual making of a film or television programme. He controls the overall outlook of a movie thus a director’s style is the impressive flair in the way his films are done. It is a method that suggests a self-confident willingness to exhibit skill or good taste.
Concept is defined as a broad abstract idea or a general principle or idea, e.g. one that determines how a person or culture behaves, or how nature, reality, or events are perceived. It is the most basic understanding of something, a method, scheme, or type of product or design. The predominant directing concept guiding the appeal of the works of the selected directors will be exposed.
Nollywood is the term that is being used by critics, audience, reporters and some practitioners in the industry to refer to the totality of the Nigerian film/ motion picture industry. Its aptness is however, trailed with a lot of arguments as many practitioners in the industry do not want to be acknowledged by it. It will be used here occasionally to describe the film industry in Nigeria. The contention surrounding the term will be explained in this work.
Auteur is a term that has been used to denote the director has the owner of a film. Film is a collaborative art involving many arts and artists; as a result there has been controversies over which artist should claim ownership of a film work,. The debate started in France in the 1950s with a group of young writers who write for the Cahier du Cinéma. They attributed the ownership of a film to the director who controls the activities of all other artists involved in the filmmaking process. The argument has continued for decades, but currently it is the opinion of the Cahier du Cinéma group that is held sway.
AESTHETICS AND THE THEORY OF FILM DIRECTING
AESTHETICS: DEFINITION AND MEANING
Aesthetics is a branch of philosophy that is concerned with the notion of the beautiful and the uncomely. It strives to ascertain why a particular thing is regarded as beauty and why another is not. It owes its name to Alexander G. Baumgartner who derived it from the Greek word aisthanomai, which means perception by means of the senses.
Furthermore, aesthetics also written as æsthetics is described as both the study of beauty and the properties of a system that appeal to the senses, as opposed to the content, structures, and utility of the system itself. Although, these cannot be separated from the study, they are not it primary domain.
Some theorists have defined it as the philosophical subject that is concerned with the nature of art and the criteria of artistic judgement. Indeed the word “aesthetics” has become an everyday term used to distinguish those objects which are delightful to look upon or listen to, from those which are not [Hartley, 2006].Traditionally, the philosophy of art concentrate on this definition but recently this has not been the focus, with the careful analysis of aspects of art largely replacing it. Today aesthetics investigates the physiological and philosophical principles of art, the conceptions of art, of beauty, and of the beautiful in art and also the universal laws of artistic activity, also the presupposition of all scientific discussion is indispensable in aesthetics,[Columbia Encyclopædia ,2006/ webpage].
Furthermore, aesthetics is the study of the origination of beauty in a mind and their effect on that mind. This perspective is actually the dimension contemporary aesthetics is tilting towards. As the subject is now understood, it is composed of two parts- the philosophy of art and the philosophy of the aesthetic experience and the character of objects or phenomenon that are art (Budd, 1988). Non-art items include both artefacts that possess aspects susceptible of aesthetic appreciation, and phenomena that lack any traces of human design by virtue of being products of nature, not humanity while art can be described as self expression, things or phenomena created by man to express one feeling or another. Art include visual (painting, sculpture, drawings, architecture), non-visual /performing arts (music, drama, dance, mime etc).
Critics have wondered how the two sides of the subject relate to each other: is one part of aesthetics more fundamental than the other? Malcolm Budd (1988) offers two suggestions, the first being that the philosophy of art is basic, since the aesthetic appreciation of anything that is not art is the appreciation of it as if it were art. The second is that there is a unitary notion of the aesthetic that applies to both art and non-art, this proposition defines the idea of aesthetic appreciation as disinterested delight in the immediate perceptible properties of an object for their own sake; and artistic appreciation is just aesthetic appreciation of works of art. Budd’s view had however been criticized as being improbable because of his first claim represents the aesthetic appreciation of nature as essentially informed by ideas intrinsic to the appreciation of art by such elements as style, reference and the expression of psychological status but it is not necessary to imagine natural objects as being works of art for them to generate aesthetic experience, infact one’s appreciation of them is determined by their lack of features specific to works of art and their possession of characteristics available only to aspects of nature. His second proposition was rejected because it fails to do justice to the significance of artistic appreciation of various features of works of art that are not immediately perceptible such as a work’s provenance or origin and its position in the artist’s oeuvre.
Malcolm Budd has however being able to fault the arguments of his critics; he posited a more accurate view of his position by stating that the two parts of the subject are related to each other in a looser fashion than either of these positions recognizes, although each part exhibits variety in itself, the two are united by a number of common issues or counterpart problems but nevertheless manifest considerable differences by virtue of the topics that are specific to them. Although some issues are common to the two parts, many are specific to the philosophy of art and a few are specific to the aesthetics of non- art objects or nature. Furthermore, not every object of aesthetic appreciation fall neatly on one side or the other of art-non art distinction, thus appreciation sometimes involves an element of both artistic and non-artistic appreciation. Both works of art and non-art objects can possess specific aesthetic properties such as beauty, gracefulness as well as properties that are not specifically aesthetic such as size, shape and are susceptible of aesthetic and non- aesthetic appreciation and subject to aesthetic and non-aesthetic judgements. Budd posited further by saying that what distinguishes an item’s aesthetics from its non-aesthetic properties is the nature or style of aesthetic appreciation, which is the particular attitude that is distinctive of aesthetic appreciation; you must adopt this attitude in order for an item’s aesthetic attitude to be manifest to you and if you are in this attitude you are in a state of aesthetic contemplation.
Many critics amongst them the great German philosopher Immanuel Kant that argued that the awareness of an object’s aesthetic properties is the product of a particular species of perception, an idea which stands in opposition to the claim that this awareness is nothing but the projection of the observer’s response onto the object. In his 1790 book “Critique of Judgement”, Immanuel Kant called “aesthetics the science which deals with the conditions of sensuous perception.” He described aesthetic judgement or appreciation as judgement that must founded on a feeling of pleasure or displeasure; he insisted that a pure aesthetic judgement about an object is one that is unaffected by any concepts under which the object might be seen, and he tried to show that the implicit claim of such a judgement being valid for everyone is justified.
Despite the strong argument that Immanuel Kant, Malcolm Budd and many others have put forward debates have continued to trail the subject and the nature of aesthetic judgement and contemplation. Some critics have queried the acceptability and plausibility of Kant’s conception of an aesthetic judgement and the success of his attempted justification of the claims of pure aesthetic judgements.
It has been said that “not everything is art” and that “art is not”. Artists create works of art which reflects the skills, knowledge and personalities of their makers, this works can succeed or fail to realize the aim of their creator. Works of art can be interpreted in different ways, understood, misunderstood or baffle the mind, subjected to analysis, and praised or criticised .Although there are many kinds of values that works of art may possess, their distinctive value is their value as work of art. It has also been argued often that “what is a work’s artistic value and which aspects of a work are relevant to or determine this value? Is the value of a work of art, considered as art, an intrinsic or extrinsic value of it? Is it determined solely by the work’s form or by certain aspects of its content –its truth or its moral sensitivity, for example? (Budd: 1988). Many other questions have been generated such as “can judgements about a work’s artistic value justifiably lay claim to universal agreement or are they merely expressions of subjective preferences? And how is a work’s artistic value related to, and how important is it in comparison with other kinds of value it may possess? What is required to detect the critically relevant properties of artworks, over and above normal perceptual and intellectual powers, and how can judgement that attributes such properties be supported? What kinds of understanding are involved in artistic appreciation? And must an acceptable interpretation of a work be compatible with any other acceptable interpretation? In what way, if any, does the artist’s intention determine the meaning of their work? What is the artist’s style and what is its significance in the appreciation of the artistic work?
Overall the nature of the aesthetic subject is such that there are diverse perspectives, views, thoughts and judgements that can generate or emanate from an encounter or experience with a single work of art; a view that aligns with the Yoruba adage that states that “it is impossible for the whole of humanity to think alike.”
Certain yardsticks has however being established as conventions for making aesthetic judgements. Prominent amongst these perspective include:
· The objectivist view or school of thought led by T.E. Jessop
· The subjectivist school or view of aesthetic value propounded by Curt J. Ducasse and
· The instrumentalist theory or view of aesthetic value postulated by Monroe C.Beardsley
The objectivist view of aesthetic appreciation states that the value of a work of art needs not be based on or inferred from the attitude or nature of its artist or creator, it states that a work of art should be judged on its own merits without inference to anything imbibe of it. Often times in emphasizing a work’s provenance, “the product is lost in the producer. We are made to jump from the poem to the poet, when we ask for an analysis of a status we are given a piece of conjecture about the sculptor. The inseparability of the work of art from the artist is the justify principle.” (Hospers, ed. 1969:272) T.E. Jessop maintained that a judgement about an artist cannot always be transferred to the thing he has made, the reason being that most of what happens in and to him does not happen afresh, or have any direct correspondence, in his work. Although other critics such as Curt Ducasse have maintained that the analysis of an artist’s personality and life can definitely help the understanding of his work. Furthermore, the objectivist view of aesthetic value also pointed that a work of art should be adjudged using yardsticks that are peculiar its nature, for instance, to approach painting, sculpture, architecture and music from the side of literature and require in them what is always to be found is to overlook the nature of the difference between the two kinds of media. To enunciate his position, Jessop says that a word ceases to be a word and therefore loses the beauty of a word when its signification and significance are not apprehended; a colour is most a colour when apprehended apart from what it may happen to represent, and that most reveals it own beauty (Hospers . ed, 2969: 280)
The subjectivist view of aesthetic value is predicated on the idea that “all criticism involves reference to some character the possession of which by the objective criticised, is regarded by the critic as being in some way good, or the lack of it, bad.” Ducasse states that a work of art is to the examined with respect to that character and pronounced good or bad in the degree in which it possesses it or lacks it.
Moreover, the subjective view of the aesthetic value maintains that a work of art is the product of an endeavour on the artist’s part to express objectively something he felt, and the question be raised whether or not it is good, in the sense of expressing that feeling adequately. Also, the subjectivist view tends to make infer to the artist’s feeling in determining the value of a work, I thrives to transmit the artist’s feeling into the work and into others.
Monroe C. Beardsley propounded the Instrumentalist theory of aesthetic judgement which adjudges a work’s value based on the usefulness of the art’s object. For instance, to say a hammer is good. The instrumentalist theory identifies aesthetic value in terms of functionality and capacity (Hospers, ed. 1969) Beardsley made a very profound statement about the aesthetic value, he says that for an object to have aesthetic value means that it has the capacity to produce aesthetic effect.
The entire sphere of aesthetics is influenced by these different views, also the interpretation, appreciation and classification is determined by these thoughts. Aesthetics have manifested in every culture and sub-culture throughout history and consequently it has survived the demise of each era of civilization from food through to music and architecture, all of our possessions and many of our experiences are purposively shaped by designers for aesthetics as well as other functional purposes. Aesthetic pervades all media, there is aesthetics in arts, music, performing arts, literature, gastronomy (food); it exists in the sciences – information technology, electronics, video games, mathematics, neuroesthetics, industrial design, urban life, landscape design, architectural and industrial design. The term has been acculturated by filmmakers to denote ingenuity in film production, infact nowadays the term film aesthetics is so widely used in productions and in film studies.
Aesthetics have manifested in every culture and subculture throughout history and consequently it has survived the demise of each era or civilization. From food through to music and architecture, all of our possessions and many of our experiences are purposively shaped by designers for aesthetics as well as functional purposes. Aesthetics pervades all media, there is aesthetics in arts, music, performing arts, literature, gastronomy (food); it exists in the sciences- information Technology, electronics, video games, mathematics, neuroesthetics , industrial design, urban life, landscape design, architectural and industrial design. The term has been acculturated by filmmakers to denote ingenuity in film production, infact nowadays the term ‘film aesthetics’ is so widely used in production circles to identify creativity in filmmaking.
Film is a term that encompasses motion pictures as individual projects, as well as the field in general. Many other terms are used for it including –the silver screen, cinema, flicks and most commonly movies. Films are produced by recording actual objects and people with cameras, or by creating them using animation techniques and/or special effects.[Stanford 2005] But a film’s form involves more than figuring out where to put the camera and what lens to use before shooting, it means articulating a clear and provocative purpose for telling the tale.[Hersh Jacob,2006] Film production is guided by certain rules and idiosyncrasies which determine its nature.
Film aesthetics or aesthetics in film has to do with the study of film and its properties that appeal to the audience’s interest and fancy. It can also be described as the study of the systems of aesthetics that are brought to bear in the production of a motion picture and an evaluation of its effects on that movie and the audience. Film aesthetics seeks to investigate the physiological and psychological principles of film elements and their effects. It also has to do with the elements of film’s appeal, the element that gives film its nature of emotional engagement. The aesthetic qualities of film are what help movies to drive into the audience their overall message, also film aesthetics serve as a mode of escapism- a medium by which the audience get away from the stress and troubles around him.
ELEMENTS OF FILM AESTHETICS
The following are the elements of film aesthetics
1. Storyline/ Plot
3. Acting: playing for film/ characterisation
v. Special effects
ii. Computer generated illustrations
i. Theme music
ii. Mood music
iii. Room tones
iv. Sound effects
The above identified elements are what film aesthetics is composed of, these tools give film its engaging prowess. The role of each of these elements will be examined to show how they contribute to the film appeal
THE STORYLINE/ PLOT
A film story must be well scripted and structured to bring out its beauty and significance. It must be organised intelligently in a chain of event with cause-effect relationship occurring in time and space. A good story provides a springboard for other elements of film aesthetics. It presents the basic stimuli to which all other material response. The storyline which may have been developed by a scriptwriter, or conceived by the producer, the director or any other person must have a plot that is worked into a very grand story that is interesting, captivating and chronological. No matter the source of the idea, whether an event in history, a person’s experience or contemporary happening in the environment, it must be well told using dramatic devices such as foreshadowing, suspense, dramatic irony etc to give it aesthetic value and improve its quality.
A good story is one at whose beginning the audience cannot predict the end. Effiong C. Johnson compares the plotting of a story to the toughness involved in the plotting of a coup [Johnson, 2001] According to him a scriptwriter is like a coup plotter who is very meticulous in details and tactical in handling issues. The idea must be creatively constructed in a way that would arrest and stimulate the interest of the audience in the film story. Excellent camerawork, elaborate mise-en-scene, “A-List” actors and crew cannot make an uninteresting story interesting.
Closely linked to the story idea is a powerful and compelling dialogue in a movie. Although film is largely a sight-based medium, dialogue no less adds to the grace and glamour of a film. It explains the story and helps the audience to understand the thrust of the conflict in the film; it tells the trouble between opposing characters, the opinions of certain characters about others in the story, determines the mood of a movie and drives the action forward. Dialogue should be sharp, short and precise in a film, it must not stress or state the obvious, that is what the audience can already see and understand but should rather reveal the inner feelings, motives, ideas and thoughts necessary to move the action forward.
Film dialogue should be dramatic, intriguing and poetic. It should be elevated and grand, because film is a more sophisticated medium than radio and television which are heterogeneous and common. Also the dialogue must be well recorded during production. It must be clear and devoid of noise.
Good acting and effective role portrayal enhances the aesthetic quality of a motion picture. There is nothing as good as actors fitting body, spirit and soul into a role such that the actor disappears and what the audience sees is the character being portrayed. Examples of good film acting include Kirk Douglas as Spartacus in SPARTACUS (Stanley Kubrick and Anthony Mann, 2000), Russell Crowe as John Nash in A BEAUTIFUL MIND (Ron Howard, 2001), Mojisola Ogunshola as Efunsetan in EFUNSETAN ANIWURA (Tunde Kelani, 2003), Kunle Bamtefa as Chief Taju Fuji in APOSTLE KASALI (Amaka Igwe Isaac, 2004).
Many examples of good role playing abound but acting for film is different from acting for television. Good film acting requires more visual elements (appearance, gestures and facial expressions) and sound (voice, effects) [Bordwell and Kristin, 1997] from the actor.
Acting must always be in tune with the genre of the movie. According to Bordwell and Kristin “if the actor looks and behaves in a manner appropriate to his or her character’s function in the context of the film, the actor has given a good performance- whether or not he or she looks or behaves as a real person would” [Bordwell and Kristin, 1997]. Hence, when an actor such as Steve Martin plays the role of a man whose body is suddenly inhabited by the soul of a dead woman in ALL OF ME (1984); and he exhibits sudden change of voice, along with acrobatic pantomime, to suggest a “split body”. His acting is very appropriate and completely virtuosic, although his performance is ‘not realistic” in the narrow sense, since the situation he portrays could not exist in the real world yet in the context of this fantasy comedy it is effective. It is also important to note that acting in film does not exist in a vacuum by itself; it has to correlate with other elements that enhance the film’s aesthetics such as camera movement and framing. As with every other element in a film, acting offers an unlimited range of distinct possibilities. It cannot be judged on a universal scale that is separate from the concrete context of the entire film’s form. [Bordwell and Kristin, 1997].
According to Hersh Jacob, a film Professor at the University of Texas, a film’s form involves more than figuring out where to put a camera and what lens to use before shooting. There are certain rules and guidelines that determine the making of a good movie which most Nigerian filmmakers overlook. Because film is the art of storytelling by means of related moving pictures, the ‘how’ of the camera must be understood. Film is a relation of one shot to another, in a narrative or non-narrative sequence, so that the whole flows smoothly and logically. [Stanley, 1979:2]. Certain aesthetic conventions and compositional principles of the camera guides cinematography and filming, some of which would be explained.
- field of view(camera distance)
- camera movement
Camera distance quantifies the distance of the camera from the action/ subject. The distance between the camera and the action/ subject creates a relationship which is both physical and psychological: the relationship is physical while recording, but psychological when screening the image recorded by the camera can impact emotionally on the viewer. There are three main variety of camera distance – the long shot, the medium shot and the close shot.
THE LONG SHOT
The Long Shot is basically for establishing a scene or an event in a film, so that the audience can see how the actors relate spatially to one another and to the background.
It variants includes
Extreme Long Shot (ELS)
This shows the subject against much of the foreground and middle ground.
The Long Shot (LS)
This shows the subject against much of the background; but with very little of the foreground.
The Medium Long Shot (MLS)
This is tighter than the Long Shot in which the foreground disappears completely.
<strong>THE MEDIUM SHOT
The Medium Shot basically shows the human frame from the waist up to the head or down to
the toes. It is used for introducing the major characters in a film, for carrying movement and for evoking dramatic conflict and effect; it is possible to evoke from a scene its full content of dramatic conflict, because the medium shot manages to retain facial expressions and physical gestures partially lost in the Long Shot which is critical to the action involved. It is also useful for re-establishing shots, in order to re-orientate the audience to a scene after they have been subjected to the detailed scrutiny with a series of close shots.[ Ekwuasi,1991:20]Two basic varieties of the medium shot they are:
The Medium Shot (MS)
This shows the human frame from the waist up to the head or waist to the toes.
The Medium Close Up (MCU)
This shows a slightly smaller proportion of the human figure, say, from about the chest region upwards and its variants include the two shot (2-shot) which frames two people, and the three shot (3-shot) which captures 3 persons at once and the over-shoulder shot (O-Shoulder) which captures the image of one of the objects from over the shoulder of the other person in the shot.
THE CLOSE SHOT (CU)
The close shot captures the frame of the object from the neck or above the chest up to the head. The close-up is traditionally the shot showing just the head, the hand, feet or a small part of the image or object. It emphasizes facial expression, the details of a gesture or a significant object and they are often dramatic revelations of what is happening under the surface [Bordwell and Kristin, 1997].
The variants of the close up include
The Tight Close-Up (TCU)
This shows the figure or human face from the jaw eliminating a great deal of the forehead, thus it shows the face properly.
The Extreme close Up (ECU/XCU)
This highlights specific areas of the face, say the eye or the nose. It is useful for highlighting and emphasizing detail, important details that needs emphasizing or that may be lost in the larger shot. There is a law of aesthetics in film that determines the progression of shots in a movie. This law of shot sequence states the order in which shots should follow one another[Ekwuasi, 2001:37] A good picture sequence is that in which the extreme shot leads to a medium shot and eventually to a close-up shot (ELS-MS-CU) or from a close up to a medium shot to an extreme shot (CU –MS-ELS). Generally it is that in which the shots proceed logically from one to another.
A filmmaker who wants to capture striking and compelling images should know about the uses of the different camera movement. The camera used to be stationary; it was assigned a fixed place from where it would record shots because the earliest cameras were very heavy weighing up to 200 Kilograms. With advanced technology in camera design, technology and production came the liberation of the camera. No longer is it only the subject which moves, the camera also moves: the camera and the subject can move simultaneously.
There are two basic types of camera movement (i) the non-spatial movement of the camera (pan, tilt, zoom and pedestal) (ii) the spatial movement of the camera (the dolly, crane and trucking).
In the non-spatial camera movement, the camera remains very stationary, the camera does not move from Point A to Point B. It moves instead either on its axis (as in pan and tilt) or on its mount (pedestal/tripod) or it can move by means of the zoom, in which the zoom lever of the camera is engaged.
The spatial movement involves the actual movement of the camera. The spatial movement include:
Crane by which the camera is hoisted into the air
The truck by which means the camera can move to the left (truck left) or to the right (truck right) of the action, and the
Dolly, another mobile camera mount by which the camera can move towards the subject (dolly in) and away from the action/ subject in (dolly out).
Camera movements are generally used to keep a moving subject in sight, to establish or highlight the temporal relationship between subjects; the spatial relationship between subjects, or to impart the illusion of movement to static objects; and to annul the limitations inherent in the fixed and static proportions of the frame among others.
As effective as the use of camera movement can be in containing action, it should be done wisely, because camera movements are a self-conscious technique which draw attention to itself. It tends to shift attention from the action to the camera so it should be well handled. It is also important to note that once a camera movement has been initiated it must not be interrupted but allowed to run its course.
One of the ways by which a director can show the audience not just what to see but how to see it is through the camera angle which is otherwise known as the angle of view. It is the angle through which the camera, and therefore, the audience, views the action/subject.
There are three major variables of angle of view.
The Eye level angle
With the eye level, which is anywhere between five and six feet (for standing) and between three and a half feet for a sitting person. It is the angle at which the eye sees an object in real life. It is devoid of dramatic effect and for this reason; it does not draw attention to itself.
The Low angle
This angle entails viewing the subject from below. Consequently the audience looms or towers over the camera’s subject. This angle heightens the subject’s importance but de-emphasizes the background or surrounding.
The High angle
It is the opposite of the low angle. Here the camera towers or looms over the subject which decrease in height. It de-emphasizes the subject but invests the surrounding with importance. The low angle and high angle are both self-conscious techniques; they tend unconsciously, to move the viewer’s attention from the image to the camera. Hence their use should be thoroughly motivated, even though angle of view is useful for creating dramatic impact, mood, the illusion of three dimensionality and for enhancing tempo and rhythm as well as showing the point of view at which the object sees another object or action. [Ekwuasi, 1997]
The violation of the rules of shot composition results in aesthetically imbalanced picture composition. Hyginus Ekwuasi (PhD) in his book THE TELEVISION FILM DOCUMENTARY identified some rules of filmic composition. He said that visual composition has to do with the creation of film space, which relates to the maximization of the enormously creative and informational potential of the visual image. The rules are identified as follows:
(A) When you wish to frame on the human subject, avoid cutting at any of the natural joints (like the elbow, the knees, the waist, the neck, the ankle etc). Rather cut slightly below or above such natural joints, because cutting at such a natural joint invests the picture with a rather disquieting quality. It makes the human subject in question look as if it has suffered some kind of amputation or deformity.
(B) Leave enough space (headroom) for the human subject; neither the head nor the chin should touch the top or bottom of the frame respectively. However, a close shot could be so framed that the upper and lower edges cut off the head and chin respectively. A guide to composing shots that ensure both adequate head and chin room is to ensure that the subject’s eyes are positioned at approximately the upper third of the frame.
(C) If the subject is looking to the left or right, that is, in any direction other than straight into the camera, leave enough leadroom (or noseroom) in the direction in which he is looking: the more the profile of the subject turned in that direction, the more the lead room or nose room.
(D) If the human subject is pointing in a particular direction other than straight into the camera, the ‘pointing force’ should be contained in a lead room: leave enough lead room in the direction in which he is pointing.
(E) In group shots, avoid arranging the subjects in a straight line formation. Instead, use the arch-like formation or a triangular formation. The screen is a flat surface: it has length and breadth but has no depth. The illusion of the missing third dimension (depth) must be created by the way images are composed on this flat surface. Composing a crowd scene on a straight line formation will only emphasize the flatness of the frame and, on screen, will be too small or simply too much to allow for transmission loss.
(F) Avoid the group shot in which the person in the background is partially blocked by the person in the foreground. If the partially blocked person is essential to the shot, have him fully in it, if he is not essential, leave him out completely, otherwise, you will have an untidy shot that will be irritating to the viewer.
(G) Avoid shots in which the edge of the screen vertically cut off people who are seen full face or nearly full face; either leave the people in or out.
Subsequently, Ekwuasi identified some codes that are directly linked with how the camera captures its subject. According to him camera work provides merely the raw materials for the editor to work with. However, if the camera is employed with adequate artistic consciousness, it does a great deal of the tidying up and the streamlining for the editor. The following compositional principles guide camera placement and movements.
(H) The camera must be deployed in such a way that the subject does not
appear in one shot to be looking out left of frame and in another shot to
be looking out right of frame, and vice versa. The camera must thus be
correctly positioned such that if we cut from the camera on the right to
the camera on the left, there would be consistency in the direction of the
subject. The key to doing this right is to use the 1800 line (known
variously as the 1800 system, the axis of the action, the line of
conversation or centre line) by drawing an imaginary line through the
action and position the camera only on one side of the line. The 1800
rule is binding. However, there are three instances when this rule can be
legitimately violated. These instances are as follows:
1. When an action is located in a stairway or doorway
2. When the mise-en-scene requires that the action and camera
moves across the line,
3. When a shot is taken from on the line itself.
(I) The cameras must be deployed in such a way that a subject travelling
from left to right in one shot does not appear in the next shot to be
travelling from right to left or vice versa. However the 1800 system
applies here and it states that the cameras must be deployed only on one
side of the line of travel.
(J) Avoid changing cameras while a subject is speaking and into a camera.
In most cases, if you change cameras at such a point, it would be
difficult, if not impossible for the subject to adjust his eye-line to the
new camera and this is usually not pleasing.
(K) Every new shot must present some new information otherwise, there is
no need whatsoever for the shot. In cutting from one camera to another,
you must be sure they do not both hold the same shot. There are four
different ways by which you can ensure that every new shot must
present some new information. It can be done by
(1) Changing the subject of focus
(2) Changing the angle of shooting
(3) Changing the position of shooting, that is by altering the
distance between the camera and the subject. This however
alters the size of the subject.
(4) Cutting to any parts of the bodies of the performance or object
which may convey information about the mood or character.
(L) Avoid any unmotivated camera movement: all camera movements
must be motivated; they must originate from the action. There must be
a valid reason for any camera movement.
(M) At all costs, avoid excessive camera movement. When the movement
becomes excessive or restless, it tends to call attention to itself- to shift
the viewer’s attention from the subject/ action to the technique and thus
negates the communication.
Subsequently, He identified some other principles of camerawork and control which would help to enhance the editing of the film.
(N) Whatever the temptation, never employ a cut where a dissolve or fade
could be more appropriate. This admonishes the filmmaker to be very
conversant with the uses of the seven expressive means by which the
editor could go from one shot to another, “expressive because each of
these itself indicates a time lapse: it tells the viewer roughly though,
the amount of time that has elapsed between one shot and another.
These devices include: the cut, the dissolve or mix, the fade in and the
fade out, the defocus and the refocus ,the wipe, the swish pan and the
(P) Avoid cutting from one extreme shot to another extreme shot, that is,
from an extreme long shot to the extreme close up, and vice versa. A
cut from the extreme shot to another creates a shot whose over all
effects are ugly and unsettling. The rule is to go from an extreme shot,
through the medium shot to another extreme shot ,say a LS –MS-CU. In
other words the medium shot has to be used as an intervening shot.
However, the only time it becomes acceptable to cut from one extreme
shot to another is if, and only if, the intention is to jolt or shock the
(Q) Avoid too much of the close-up and too much of the long shot. Shots
attain their full significance in the context of the other shots. Thus, the
full value of the close shot becomes realizable only within the context
of the long shot and vice versa. So the various units of shots must be
mixed, and well justified.
(R) The transition to a new scene is by any other means than the long shot;
give a long shot of the new scene as soon as possible. The reason is
simple: to orientate the viewer and to make possible and meaningful
any subsequent decomposition of the scene.
(S) Once a major character has made his entry or re-entry, put him, as soon
as possible in a close-up. The reason is to remind the viewer of him
and his place in the story. If the character is making his entry for the
first time, the viewer needs to see him at very close quarters to be able
to fully identify him subsequently.
(T) Avoid cutting too early or too late: as much as possible, time the cutting
to the movement of the subject, precisely when he is in the act of rising,
sitting or turning. Cutting to movement within the frame makes the cut
barely noticeable, therefore, hardly diverts the viewer’s attention from
the movement (or the action) to the editor’s technique.
U) Avoid cutting from a panning camera to a stationary one. The effect of a
cut from a panning camera to a stationary one is ugly and rather
disconcerting. The only permissible exceptions to the rule are: at the end
of a swish; and where a shock effect (on the viewer) is intended
(V) Avoid dissolving between two panning cameras or from one moving
camera to a stationary one, the effect of such a dissolve is unsettling.
The only permissible exception in the case of two panning cameras is where
both cameras are panning in the same direction and speed.
(W) Employ the modes of transmission (the cut, dissolve, fade, wipe etc) in
consonance with the rhythm of the accompanying music- not against it:
the visual cut, for instance, should coincide with the musical cut. The
visual image and the music should be complementary; not in collusion.
X) Whatever the employed mode of transmission (whether the cut, fade or
dissolve etc) It should be thoroughly motivated by the action and the
accompanying sound. Where there is no such motivation, the inherent
tendency of the modes of transition to divert attention to themselves
becomes enhanced to the detriment of the communication act.
Hyginus Ekwuasi: The Television Film Documentary,Jos: NFI, 1997; p.29-41.
According to the fifth edition of Chambers’ Universal Learners’ Dictionary, spectacle is described as “an event or sight that is very wonderful or impressive”. Spectacle is an integral aspect of film which gives it its compelling appeal and aura. The aspects of spectacle in film aesthetics include lighting, costume and make up, setting/scenery, mise-en-scene, dance and special effects. The place of each one of these elements will now be examined.
The Sun, the mood and the stars indicate times and seasons and help to illuminate the day and signify the arrival of night. Lighting in film helps to depict the time, season, atmosphere and or environment in which the story of a film is set. Lighting indicates day, night, determines the atmospheric and environment conditions or phenomena such as rain, fog, tornado, sand storm etc. Development and advancement in lighting technology has made this possible. In cinema lighting is more than just illumination that permits us to see the action.[Bordwell and Kristin, 1997]Lighter and darker areas within the frame help create the overall composition of each shot and thus guide our attention to certain objects and actions. A brightly illuminated patch may draw our eye to a key gesture, while a shadow may conceal a detail or build up suspense about what may be present. Lighting shapes objects by creating highlights and shadows.
Lighting shapes a shot’s overall composition and also affects our sense of the shape and texture of the object depicted. If a ball is lit straight from the front, it will appear round; if it lit from the side it will be seen as a half circle. According to Josef Von Sternberg, one of the cinema’s masters of film lighting: “the proper use of light can embellish and dramatize every object.”[Microsoft Encarta, 2004] Lighting is also used for effects- to create shadow and thus raise suspense or it can be flooded around an image to create the effect of “supernaturalism or celestality” as it was used in TO ‘LU WA NILE 3(Tunde Kelani, 1993) when Baba Wande (Mutiu Adepoju) meets with the Onibode in Heaven or when Jesus (Jim Caviezel) was transfigured in THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST (Mel Gibson, 2005). The importance of effective lighting in filmmaking cannot be overemphasized by directors, videographers and cinematographers because lighting also helps to boost the clarity of the visual images captured by the camera on the screen. According to Tunde Kelani, one of Nigeria’s most creative film director and makers, “lighting helps me to create my vision for the film story.”[Personal interview, July 2006]
(II)COSTUME AND MAKE-UP
Costumes are any material that is worn by an actor in a movie or play to build up, emphasize or portray his character. Costume includes clothing, eye wears, foot wears, headgears and clothing accessories. Costume helps to depict the place and time setting of the story, the culture of the actor as well as determine the social class of the character being depicted. Cowboys in the Western film genre wear a lot of hats, a pair of Sanchos shoe, jeans and a pistol or gun pouch, an affluent Yoruba actor wears an Agbada with a cap to fit and a pair of shoes.
Make-up are materials used mainly to conceal or enhance the character being played by an actor. It is mainly used on the face. Make- up includes what is worn on the head and used to adorn the face including all types of wigs, masks, eye brows, pancakes, eye liners, lipsticks, hair attachments, extensions etc. Make-up was originally necessary because actor’s faces would not register on early film stock, and up till now it has been used in various ways to enhance the appearance of actors on the screen. Make-up helps to determine the location and mood of the film story as well as reveal the status (social, economic and psychological) of the character portrayed.
The opening pictures of THE BACHELOR (2004) established that the film is set in modern day American while the costumes and make up of the actors in the first scene of BRAVEHEART (Mel Gibson, 1994) indicates that it is set in 13th Century Britain. Costume and make-up are also used for dramatic effects. Bizarre make-up and costume plays a major role in the convention of the horror film. In recent years, the craft of make-up has developed in response to the popularity of horror and science-fiction genres. Rubber and plasticene compounds create bumps, bulges, extra organs and layers of artificial skin[Bordwell and Kristin, 1997]In the movie NUTTY PROFESSOR (Jerry Lewis, 1996), the body of Professor Julius Kelp (Eddie Murphy) was made from rubber and plasticene and also the body of the character of BIG MOMMA I & II was made from the same material. Costume and make-up help to depict the right mood in a film as well as aids the arousal of suspense in the audience additionally they help the audience to know the age of the character being portrayed and are also useful in the building of character traits. Generally, costume and make-up enhance the audience’s understanding of the unfolding plot action.
Setting is also known as scenery and it implies the environment, usually the place or locale where an action takes place. Scenery is another theatrical spectacle which film has appropriated. Setting helps the audience to understand a film story, just as in real life that an event happens at a place in time. If in a movie, events are not set in a place, the story will be incomplete also as film attempts a realistic depiction of life it is imperative for the story to be set in a location. Since the earliest days of cinema, critics and audience have understood that scenery plays a more active role in cinema than in theatre. It has the potential to manipulate the flow of the narrative action and there are a variety of choices in selecting a location. One way is to select an already existing locale in which to stage the action, this practice stretches back to the earliest films. Louis Lumière shot his short comedy L ‘ARROSEUR ARROSÉ (THE WATERER WATERED) in a garden and Victor Sjöstróm filmed THE OUTLAW AND HIS WIFE in the splendour of the Swedish country and at the close of the World War II, Roberto Rossellini shot GERMANY YEAR ZERO in the rubble of Berlin. Today filmmakers still go to location to shoot.
Alternatively, the filmmaker may choose to construct the setting, Méliès understood the increased control yielded by shooting in a controlled environment or a studio and he shot his films in such. Today many filmmakers and directors are following his lead. In France, Germany and especially the United States, the possibility of creating a wholly artificial world on film led to the development of several approaches to set design and construction.
However for shooting in an alternative location to be effective, it must be done with great attention to realism, for instance Robert Redford in directing “ALL THE PRESIDENT’S MEN” sought to duplicate the office of The Washington Post and he littered the set with waste paper from the actual newspaper’s office. (Bordwell and Kristin,1997) It should be remembered however that realism in setting is partly a matter of convention. What strikes as realistic today might be highly stylized to a future audience just as the Gothic art is to us today. To shoot in a constructed set, a full size set need not always be built, to save money, time or to create fantasy effects and execute explosions; filmmakers usually build miniature set and this too have the range of possibilities of an actual set. No matter the nature of the set whether real life, constructed, actual or simulated it must be organized to suit the peculiarities of the story.
In some quarters, all the elements considered above are regarded as aspects of film’s mise-en-scène. Mise-en-scène, French word pronounced “meez-ahn-sen” means “staging an action” and it was first applied to the practice of directing plays before film scholars extended the term to film directing where it was used to signify the director’s control over what appears in a film frame. The cinema’s first master of the technique was George Méliès. Being a caricaturist and a magician, mise-en-scene enabled Méliès to create a totally imaginary world on film. Méliès was fascinated with the Lumière brothers’ demonstration of their short films and in 1895 he built a camera based on an English projector, Méliès began filming unstaged street scenes and moments of passing daily life. One day, the story goes, he was filming at the Place de l’ Opèra when his camera jammed as a bus was passing. After tinkering with it, he was able to resume filming, but by this time the bus had gone and a hearse was passing in front of his camera lens. When he screened the film, he discovered something quite unexpected: a moving bus had instantly transformed itself into a hearse. The anecdote may be apocryphical but it at least illustrates Méliès’s recognition of the magical powers of mise-en-scene. He would devote most of his efforts to cinematic conjuring. But to do so would require preparation; since Méliès could not always count on lucky accidents like the “bus- hearse transformation”. He would have to plan and stage action for the camera. [Bordwell and Kristin, 1997]. In controlling the mise-en-scène the director stages the event for the camera. This is however not acceptable in documentary film because of its need for objectivity and its dependence on reality. But it is common with fictional films and animated films in which mise-en-scene is controlled to a degree impossible with live performance. Mise-en-scène is what the layman calls “film trick”. It allows for control over every element of the film making it possible to demonstrate a great range of technical possibilities. Setting, lighting, costume, make–up and figure behaviour interact to create patterns of movement, of colour, depth, line, space, light and dark. These patterns define and develop the space of the story world and emphasize salient story information. The most essential aspect of mise-en-scene is figure expression and movement. Often in fictional films we see actors shot dead, cut with swords, hit by spears, blown up, jump from cliffs, fly, climb tall buildings, fall from skyscrapers, defeat many opponents with a single stroke in a physical combat; we see buildings collapse, bombed; we see aeroplanes crash and many other near impossible events occur; all such acts are carefully staged manifesting the use of mise-en-scene.
The director controls the behaviour of various figures in the film. Here the word “figure” covers a wide range of possibilities, since the figure may represent a person but could also be an animal (Babe the Piglet in BABE (Chris Noonan, 1995), a robot (R2D2 and C3PO) in the STAR WARS series (George Lucas 1999, 2002 and 2005), an object (as in Ballet Mècanique’s choreography of bottles, straw hats, and kitchen utensils), or even a pure shape. [Bordwell and Kristin, 1997: 156] Mise-en-scène allows such figures to express feelings and thoughts, it can also dynamize them to create various kinetic patterns. In cinema, facial expression and movement are not restricted to human figures, by means of animated drawings or three dimensional effects, objects can be endowed with highly dynamic movement. It is common place for one to see robots and monsters give expressions and gestures. Although abstract shapes and animated figures can become important in the mise-en-scène, the most intuitively familiar cases of figure expression and movement are actors playing roles. The actor’s performance is created in order to be filmed. An actor’s performance consists of visual elements (appearance, gestures and facial expressions) and sound (voice, effects).
Mise-en-scène thrives to make the acting and role playing of actors as true to life as possible, the director works the actor to a point where he exhibits extremely “everyday like attributes and gesture”. In action movies, the elaborate and near impossible actions which the actors execute are made possible by the use of ropes which are made invisible by means of lighting and the filming of the actions in slow motion and fast forwarding it during editing such that when it is eventually projected in the cinema the actions are seen as very fast. Neo (Keanu Reeves) and Mr Smith’s (Hugo Weaving) fight sequence in MATRIX 3 THE REVOLUTION (Larry Wachowski and Andy Wachowski, 2002) is a typical example of how figure expression and movement can make the unreal real. Finally, with mise-en-scène the director not only guides our perception from moment to moment but also helps create the overall form of the film.
In many films, dance is incorporated as a part of the film’s spectacle. Dance entertains and many directors have capitalized on this to enhance the aesthetics of their work. Dance is described as the rhythmic movement of the human body or a figure in time and space. There is an elaborate use of dance in CINDERELLA (Rodgers and Hammerstein, 1997), The PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (Rupert Julian, Edward Sedgwick, Ernst Laemmle, Lon Chaney, 1925). In Nigeria, many Nollywood directors use it to fill up time in their works. However it is more expedient to use dance as part of the unfolding action rather than as a “time filler” or as mere spectacle. Dance is useful as spectacle because it helps to provide some intermezzi or relief from the very overwhelming plot of the movie. It served this purpose in VAN HELSING (Stephen Sommers, 2004), TITANIC (James Cameron, 1997) and in AIYE/ JAIYESIMI (Hubert Ogunde, 1985).
Explosions, bombs, gun shots, blood, ghost, flying, crashes etc are parts of the special effects used in movies nowadays. Actually there is a special effects unit in film production under the Hollywood studio system that is in charge of preparing, executing and recording special effects – miniatures, matte work, Computer Generated Graphic Imaging (CGI) and other technical shots. Special effects are used to create those sequences and actions that cannot be created or captured naturally.
Films are not recorded in the order they appear on screen. During shooting, scenes that are related (involving the same locale, time and characters) are shot as this saves time, money and energy, so they have to be married together intelligently. The hundreds of brief shots photographed, must be arranged into a final cut/edit that fulfils the vision of the director and the producer. Editing may be thought of as the coordination of one shot with the next. The film editor eliminates unwanted footage, usually by discarding all but the best take.[Microsoft Encarta,2004] Since the 1920s when film theorists began to realize what editing can achieve, it has been the most widely discusses film technique. Editing is a process by which the filmmaker controls what the audience sees and how they see it. Editing helps to shape the overall appeal and composition of the film. According to Pudovkin, Vsevolod Ilarionovich (1893-1953) “Editing is the basic creative force, by power of which the soulless photographs (the separate shots) are engineered into a living cinematographic form”. [Bordwell and Kristin, 1997:458]
Sergei Mikhailovich Eisenstein was the director who changed the face of film editing. He introduced the concept of ‘montage’, that is the juxtaposing of two film images to produce a new idea. According to the Encyclopædia Britannica Ready Reference 2005, montage is a pictorial technique in which cut-out illustrations, or fragments of them, are arranged together and mounted on a support, producing a composite picture made from several different pictures. It is commonly used as the opening sequence of movies and television productions. In motion pictures, montage is the sequential assembling of separate pieces of thematically related film by the director, film editor, and visual and sound technicians, who cut and fit each part with the others to produce visual juxtapositions and complex audio patterns.
Montage became for Sergei Mikhailovich Eisenstein a method of penetrating reality. Montage is the unity and conflict of opposites in art. It was an attack by Eisenstein on the traditional method of constructing a film-the linkage of sequence in a smooth undisturbing manner [Jonas: WSWS, 1998]. He worked out a highly mathematical concept of montage according to which a film’s meaning was created from the series of synthetic collisions between image and subsequent images.[Golda,2004] Eisenstein developed what he called a “montage of attractions,” a bold theory of staging that addressed the possibility of linking a series of images to evoke predetermined emotional responses from the spectator. He uses editing to juxtapose apparently unrelated images, to create rapid and dynamic shifts in rhythm, and to compress and expand physical action rather use it as a storytelling device. [Bordwell and Kristin, 1997: 459]. He experimented the idea with his movies OCTOBER, POTEMKIN, THE BIRTH OF A NATION and others emulated his acclaim stylized cutting and near sublime editing. It is not uncommon nowadays to see intelligent fade in, fade out, systematic scene cutting, provocative scene arrangement and interplay of shots.
(II) COMPUTER GENERATED ILLUSTRATION
Computer generated illustrations or CGI as it is commonly referred to, are closely related to mise-en-scene. CGI helps to resolve the most complex problems or elements of filmmaking. Difficult scenes and actions are sometimes accomplished with the help of computer graphics. The results can be spectacular and lifelike. Most bomb blasts and plane explosions are computer generated or simulated.
Bordwell and Kristin explains that the filmmaker’s control of mise-en-scene has been extended by means of computer technology. CGI involves the use of animation, which consists of sequences of still images called cells. The cells are arranged in order so that when they are viewed rapidly one after the other, they create the illusion of motion. Artists create animations in a variety of ways. Traditional animations include hand-drawn illustrations. Animators may also use computer software programmes to generate illustrations or multiple pictures of an object. Digitizing images allows them to be manipulated in almost any conceivable manner.
A classic example of a movie with combined imagery is the JURASSIC PARK (Steven Spielberg, 1993) where computer-generated dinosaurs are seen interacting with human characters. In FORREST GUMP (Robert Zemeckis, 1994) the title character seems to meet historical figures such as President John F. Kennedy and singer Elvis Presley. This was done by digitally merging images of lead actor Tom Hanks with films of Kennedy, Presley, and other figures.
Another popular computer-generated technique is called morphing, which is short for metamorphosis on film. Morphing, this is the featured visual effect in TERMINATOR 2: JUDGMENT DAY (1991), involves the digital translation of one object, or character, into another. The effect is of the object or character visibly and fluidly changing into another.
Advances in digitization allow filmmakers to alter their previous work in ways initially impossible. In the late 1990s, by digitizing STAR WARS and its sequels, George Lucas was able to add new scenes and creatures, and to improve some of the special effects of the original films. The 1997 film TITANIC used computer-generated images, miniatures, and live-action special effects more extensively than any previous film.
Unlike the special effects of previous films, many of TITANIC’s effects were not obvious. Instead, they blended into the texture of the film. The result was so effective it was almost impossible to tell that many scenes onboard or in the water were filmed in a studio, and not on location, and that many images, including crowds of people on the ship, were actually computer generated [Microsoft Encarta, 2006]
Graphics is the art and profession of selecting and arranging visual elements—such as typography, images, symbols, and colours—to convey a message to an audience. Sometimes graphic design is called “visual communications.” It is a collaborative discipline: writers produce words and photographers and illustrators create images that the designer incorporates into a complete visual message [Encyclopaedia Britannica Ready Reference 2005].
Nowadays, graphics is regarded as a part of a film’s aesthetic; it includes subtitles, the opening graphics which spell out the name of actors and prominent crew members, production company and sometimes the prologue, the closing credits etc. The aesthetics of graphics includes boldness and clarity of fonts, 3-D effects, computer animations and simulation/ display pattern. There are many varieties of graphics used in film today including animated graphics, computer animation, 3-D graphics etc.
Music is often synonymously identified in the cinema or film as sound, so it is very rampant to hear the music editor called sound editor and sound editor called the music editor. Bordwell and Kristin talked about the effects of film music in their book Film Art-An Introduction. According to them, “whether noticed or not, sound (music) is a powerful film technique for several reasons. First, it engages a distinct sense mode; our visual attention is accompanied by aural attention. Even before recorded sound was introduced in 1926, the ‘silent’ cinema recognized this by its use of accompaniments (music from orchestra, organ or piano).At a minimum, the music filled in the silence and gave the spectator a more complete perpetual experience.”
Secondly, sound can actively shape how we perceive and interpret the image. [Bordwell and Kristin, 1997: 315-317]. A third function of music in film is that, it directs our attention quite specifically within the image. This possibility becomes even more fertile when you consider that the sound cue for some visual element may anticipate that element and relay our attention to it. Suppose we have a close-up of a man in a room and we hear the creaking of a door opening. If the second shot shows the door now open, the viewer’s attention will shift to that door, the source of the off screen sounds. But if the second shot shows the door still closed, the viewer will likely ponder his or her interpretation of the sound (Maybe it wasn’t a door, after all?). Thus the movie sound track can clarify image events, contradict them or render them ambiguous.
Fourth, they identified that music cues us for expectation. If we hear a door creaking, we anticipate that someone has entered a room and that we will see that person in the next shot. But if the film draws upon conventions of the horror genre, the camera might stay on the man, staring fearfully. We would be in suspense as to the appearance of the monster off-screen. Horror and mystery films often utilize the power of sound from an unseen source to engage the audience’s interest, but all types of film can take advantage of it.
Fifth, they posit that sound bristles with as many creative possibilities as editing. Through editing, one may join many shots of any two spaces to create a meaningful relation. Similarly, the filmmaker can mix any sonic phenomena into a whole. There are four main types of film music or sound namely
(i) Theme music
(ii) Mood music
(iii) Room tones
(iv) Sound effects
(v) Incidental music
As the name implies, theme music is the type of film music that buttresses the theme of the film. It is most effectively used in Nollywood movies. Theme music tends to build up or explain the subject matter of the film story. For instance, in the movie-DOUBLE PLATINUM (2001) the music “LOVE IS ALL THAT MATTERS”(Robert Allan Ackermann,2001) explains the film’s theme-that love is what binds us together and unites us in spite of our differences, prejudices and the hurts we may suffer.
II MOOD MUSIC
This is type of music or sound used to set or arouse a particular mood or feeling in a film spectator. For instance in a scene where a person has just been killed or murdered, mood music is likely to be used to build the mood of empathy or sympathy in the audience or elicit any other type of reaction the director wants. It is also helpful for creating suspense and emotion in the audience.
III ROOM TONES
It is some sort of fill-in music. It is used to fill-in conversations, actions etc so as to keep the film from being boring. For instance in A BEAUTIFUL MIND (Ron Howard) room tones were used in the scene in which John Nash (Russell Crowe) conceives the game theory.
IV SOUND EFFECTS
Sound effects are basically used for effects and for enhancing the overall sound quality and aesthetic reality (truthfulness) of a movie. Common sound effects include car horn, sword clinking, rain showers, footsteps etc. Sound effects are used to indicate time (cock crowing suggests morning, the tickling of termites suggests night), place (the sound of waves indicate a beach), music (a party), noise (a riot or chaos) and so on.
V INCIDENTAL MUSIC
A film story is made up of series of incidents skilfully linked in a cause-effect relationship, these events and incidents drive the story. Occasionally in a movie, music is introduced at intervals to heighten the unfolding action, explain the plot and or accompany the actions for dramatic effects or build up emotions in the audience. Many examples of its usage in movies abound; and as a matter of fact, over forty (40%) percent of all the music used in a movie are incidental music. Thus incidental music can be defined as the type of music that is used to emphasize events and incidents as they unfold in a movie.
AESTHETICS AND FILM DIRECTING THEORIES
Film aesthetics and its elements are not independent techniques and or resources in themselves because the look and feel of any movie is subservient to the style adopted by a director for that work; film aesthetics subsets in the style or approach adopted by a film director.
Film directing is the art of co-ordinating, coercing and controlling the coercion activities of all the persons, artists involved in the film or drama project in order to achieve an aesthetic invoke production and experience.
A film director is a person who directs the making of a film. A film director visualises the script, controlling the artistic and dramatic aspects, while guiding the technical crew and actors in the fulfilment of that vision (wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia).The director’s vision shapes the look and feel of a film. He or she is the creative force that pulls a film together; he is responsible for turning the words of a script into images on the screen. Actors, writers, cinematographer and editors orbit around the director like planets around the sun (learner.org/exhibits/ cinema directing.html) As Cecil B.DeMille puts it; “a motion picture director in many respects occupies a position analogous to the leader of an orchestra. The leader has to wave a baton in order to get the right tempo. He has to see that the bassoon does not come in while the violin is playing it solo. Likewise, a motion picture director has to hold together all the departments, he has to see that they all function on time, and that everything meets on the little set where the camera is going to turn for a few minutes”, (DeMille, 1927)
The director oversees and orchestrates the mounting of a play by unifying the various endeavours and aspects of a production. The director is the primary visionary, making decisions on the artistic concept and the interpretation of a text. The director has two basic charges:
- to implement a unified vision within the finished production and
- To lead others towards its ultimate actualization.
In order to meet these charges, the director must organize the realization of his or her vision, by deciding upon the interpretation to be given the film script or play; thus he analysis the script to discover the play’s structure and meanings, without understanding the script, the director cannot make choices. He or she seeks to know what the story is about and to understand each character in terms of both the scripts and the demands that character places upon the actor. The director must be able to envision the play atmosphere or mood and know how to actualize it in terms of design and theatrical space, the director must be able to see the script or screenplay in terms of both physical and verbal action.
The director works with the scriptwriter where possible, with the costume designer, lighting designer, set designer; and with technicians in planning the production. The director meets with them, discuss his or her vision, but also listens to ideas from the other artists. This highly creative intercourse results in a compromise which is often better than the director’s original vision, because creative ideas interact with one another. Ultimately, the director decides upon the interpretation to be used.
The director also casts rehearses the actor’s and co-ordinates al element into the finished production.
The director’s role can be summarized as follows
- realizing the overall artistic vision of a film
- controlling the content and flow of the film’s plot and
- overseeing the performance of actors
Directing as an art form has grown with the developments in theatre theory and practice; it is expedient to note that film has appropriated a lot of its techniques from theatre, with the emergence of new trends in theatre so too have directors adopted new technologies and engage in new practices. Today there is a variety of directing theories, or styles that a director can adopt depending on the genre of the film story, the nature of the project, and cast requirement.
Some popular directing styles or theories include:
A director can lean on one or more of these film forms or theories in interpreting the story of a film; it is however important to note that these theories are not techniques but guidelines and that they do not call attention to themselves in a movie, infact an audience may not be able to ascertain the guiding theory of a movie the first time he sees it until he does a thorough analysis of its director’s interpretation or have read a review on the movie before seeing it.
Realism has been described as the depiction of subjects as they appear in life, without embellishment or interpretation (Wikipedia). Realism strives to depict subjection stage as they appear everyday in life. The origin of realism as a dramatic technique is often associated with Henrik Ibsen who is denoted as the father of dramatic realism. It started in the second half of the 19th century as a reaction against the excesses of Romanticism, its subjectivism and imagination. Realism attempts the accurate and apparently objective description of the ordinary, observable world with the introduction of realistic elements into dramatic art such as the emphasis on realistic costumes, settings, the adoption of everyday language as the dialogue of drama texts, the adoption of contemporary themes and so on. Realism’s goal is not the initiating of fast achievements but the truthful and accurate depictions of the models that nature and contemporary life offer to the artist. Realism’s the artistic attempt to recreate life as it is in the context of an artistic medium. The filmmaker attempts to report and describe what he sees as accurately and honestly as possible.
Realistic filmmaking tends to portray the lives, appearances, problems, customs and moves of people and society as is in real life, using filmic techniques that call to reality. Films such as Titanic, the Last Man Standing, the Good, The Bad and The Ugly, Abeni I & II are regarded as realistic because they depict how men are and how they would behave in real life in similar circumstances as those depicted in the play. Realism set itself to conscientiously to reproduce all hitherto ignored aspects of contemporary life and society - its mental attitudes, physical settings and material conditions. There are some conditions noted for their realistic style of directing including Steven Spielberg who commissioned his actors to “observe how people behave and interact in certain situations so that they can represent it perfectly on set.
Nonetheless, there has been many reactions against realism in film. One of the major contenders include Bob Nowlan who wrote in his paper “An introduction to the problematic of “realism” in film, video, and moving image culture” that the problem with “realistic” as an evaluative criterion for judging how “good” or “bad” a film is, result from the fact that all films provides a representation of reality, none simply shows us “reality” in and of itself. We have no access to “reality” other than through representations, yet all representation are not identifiable with what they represent and that realism is often subjective but because filmmakers always construct what we perceive as “reality” in film, and more than this, “realism” is “relative” to different – and changing – conventions across time and place (i.e., what seems “realistic” to one place and time will not seem so to a different place and time)
Nowlan thus recommend that the conception needs to be broad and political and free from aesthetic restrictions and independent of convention. According to him, “realist” means laying bare society’s casual network as against showing up the domination, and writing from the standpoint of the class which has prepared the broadest solutions for the most pressing problems afflicting human society as against emphasizing the dynamics of development and so on. Furthermore, he commends the director working in the realistic mode always “the actual life portrayed” as his artistic yardstick and not some other work or picture. He said that “the intelligibility of a work of literature is not ensured by its being written in exactly the same way as other works which people have understood and appreciated. Something was done towards their understanding, in the same way we must do something for the understanding of networks.”
A number of variations of the realistic style have been identified by many researchers including Bob Nowlan, Erik Simpson and many others.
These variations include:
§ Hollywood realism
§ Social realism
§ Neo realism and
§ Direct cinema or cinema verite
This kind of realism depends upon “transparency” of form, invisibility of construction, and enticement of the spectator into the illusion of entering a seemingly internally consistent, seemingly life-like fictional world for the duration of the spectator’s direct engagement with the film. The main focus of the style is to prevent the spectator from thinking about the fact that he or she is watching a movie while he or she is doing it. Audiences are encouraged to “lose themselves in the illusion”. Hollywood realism depends a great deal upon narrative continuity and continuity editing and it ultimate goal is entertainment. Hollywood realism focuses on representing the moderate, conservative, mainstream, commonsensical and ideological predominant American values and perspectives.
The features of this concept includes recognizable authentic locations, authentic regional dialects and cultural references, the use of “non- professional actors”, focus on lead characters who are ‘ordinary’ and working class and are often centred around narratives based on the hardships of “social disadvantage”. Social realism as a filmic theory thrives on observational documentary style of cinematography and encourages a spontaneous naturalistic acting style.
It is often associated with documentary filmmaking. According to Branston and Stafford (London- Routeledge) “the simple premise of this approach is that a camera and microphone are as close to events as possible and that the film or tape is running continuously “so that “everything that happens is recorded” as in real life, without representation.
It is often associated with Italian Cinema of the 1942-1951. The Post-War (WW II) period saw several filmmakers beginning to work with the goal of revealing contemporary social conditions. Economic, political and cultural factors helped the Neo realists survive. Neo-realism relies on actual locales; its photographic elements give considerable emphasis to deep focus and long and extreme longs shots and takes. Neo-realism thrives to address social issues and often featured non-actors recruited for their realistic looks or behaviour as well as famous actors, for instance in the popular Neo-realist film, Bicycle Thief (1948) by Vittorio De Sica, the adult “star” was a factory worker, “the way he moved, the way he sat down, his gestures with those hands as a working man and not of an actor….. everything about him was perfect.” (Kristin and Thompson, 463)
There is a remarkable degree of improvisational freedom in the acting and setting of neo-realistic films. Neo realism uses a loosened up narrative technique of storytelling. Examples of neo-realistic films include Shoeshine (1946), Cittá Aperta (Open City) (1945), Bitter Rice (Riso Amaro) 1949 and recently Campus Queen (2004) etc.
The recent development in filmic theory Dogme 95 has been described as a contemporary instance of Neo-Realism. According to Branston and Stafford, the Dogme 95 filmmakers committed to a “view of chastity” and their emphasis was on rawness, authenticity and a devotion to addressing social issues as a key concern.
Naturalism refers to the depiction of realistic objects in a natural setting. Naturalism seeks to replicate a believable everyday reality. Naturalism developed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries as an opposition to Romanticism and Surrealism. Naturalistic films tries to create a perfect illusion of reality through detailed sets, an unpoetic literary style that reflects the way people speak and a style of acting that tries to recreate reality often by seeking complete identification with the role as advocated by Konstanin Stanislavski. Bob Nowlan argues that naturalism attempts to convey a representation that looks, sounds and feels just like the actual world outside of the work of art or as close as conceivably possible. Naturalism is influenced by the evolution theory of Charles Darwin. The technique explores the fact that heredity and social environment determines a person’s character. Naturalistic films often feature uncouth or sordid subject matters. Examples include Departed (Martin Scorcese, 2006), Dangerous Minds (Spike Lee, 1991)
Expressionism in art is a style in which the intention is not to reproduce a subject accurately but instead to portray it in such a way as to express the inner state of the artist. Expressionism attempts to express the inner man, it dramatizes subjective states of mind through the use of distortions, striking and often grotesque images. Expressionist films calls attention to emotions from the inner reality. It project far more of life than it actually portrays and dramatic conflict tended to be replaced by the development of themes by means of visual images, additionally expressionist films presents the world the way the hero sees it and depended a lot on the designers, characters and scenes are presented in a stylished distorted manner with the intent of producing emotional shock. Also the expressionist theory is best used in horror films, though it is applicable in other genres as well. A combination of events led to the collapse of the movement including the rampant inflation of the German economy which resulted in a consistent increase in production cost and the luring away to Hollywood of Germany actors and cinematography such as Karl Freund, Conrad Veldt, and Emil Jannings as well as the emergence of the Nazi regime in 1933. Example of Expressionist film include The Fog, 2005
Sergei Mikhailovich Eisenstein is associated with the theory of the Montage. Eisenstein believed that film’s meaning are created primarily by editing that uses cuts to place shots in conservation with one another. Sergei like the other Russian directors of his era believed in editing. As Thompson and Kristin stated in Film Art- an introduction- (5th Ed.) “the theoretical writings and filmmaking practice of these directors were based on editing. They all declared that a film does not exist in its individual shots but in their combination through editing into a whole” (458-459). Montage becomes for Eisenstein a method for penetrating reality. Montage is a technique that combines the unity and conflict of opposites in a film. It is the juxtaposing of two film images to produce a new idea whose effect is more powerful and striking than either of the shots or images only. For Sergei Eisenstein, montage compares to the explosions in an internal combustion engine that drove a car forward.
Montage is an attack by Eisenstein on the traditional method of constructing a film- the linkage of sequences in a smooth undisturbing manner. Critics have argued that Sergei Eisenstein worked out a highly mathematical of montage according to which a film’s meaning can be achieved from the synthetic collisions between shots”. This theory permeated the then emerging Russian cinema. The Montagist approach to the narrative form sets them apart from the cinema of other countries. The Montagist approach is still in use today. The technique was used by Muyiwa Ademola in Igi Owo and it is commonly used by Hollywood filmmakers and also Bollywood directors.
The word symbolism derives from the Greek verb Symballain which means to throw together, and its noun symbolon meaning mark, emblem, token or sign. In layman’s terms, symbolism is described as an object which represents or stands for something else but really the true definition of symbolism is not far from this description. Symbolism is a visible object or action that suggests some further meaning in addition to itself. The Wikipedia Encyclopaedia describes symbolism as the applied use of any iconic representation (symbolism) which carries particular conventional meanings. Symbolism is the film technique which involves the use of symbols, imagery and abstract concepts by which actions and events are allowed broader applicability of meaning beyond what may be literally described.
The use of symbolism in film invests the plot with more meaning than what it appears to be. Hidden behind a sheath of movie stars, camera angles, expensive sets and costumes is a message the viewer can only read and perceive if he or she looks closer. By looking closer at the film the viewer can then detect these motifs and ideas hidden within the plot. For example, in ShawnShank Redemption (1992), water is the overriding symbol. Although water is a powerful element in real life, people take it for granted, not understanding and appreciating it full potential. Water connotes change, either eroding a previous harvest or washing away impurity to promote new growth. The presence of water in the ShawnShank Redemption symbolizes change and rebirth of two main characters, Andy and Red. People subconsciously comprehend the importance of water in this film without being hit with an overt statement explaining its significance. Otto Rank maintained that the essence of symbolism is the expression of context rather than the expression of content.
Symbolism in film thrives to capture those absolute truths which can only be accessed by indirect methods. Thus directors working in the symbolist mode thrives to create highly metaphoric and suggestive images, endowing the plot with particular images or objects that have symbolic meaning. Symbolist films borrows a lot from symbolist literature and art, according to the Symbolist Manifesto (‘Le Symbolism Le Figaro) 18 Sept.1886 published by Jean Moréas, symbolism is hostile to “plain meanings”, declamations, false sentimentality and matter- of-fact description” and that its goal instead was to “clothe the ideal in a perceptible form” whose “aim was not itself, but whose sole purpose was to express the ideal”. Also unlike their poetry counterparts who sought to evoke, rather than to describe, symbolist directors used imagery to signify the ideal state. Nowadays, symbolism is widely used in films to create dramatic effects or to say things or express opinions which could be politically inappropriate to say.
Bertolt Brecht, 1898 -1956, German dramatist and poet invented the theory of the Epic theatre also known as the alienation theory or technique. The alienation technique includes destroying any illusion that would induce identification or bring about involvement or recognition with a character by a spectator; and produce the Aristotelian effects of catharsis, pity and fear for the character. The alienation technique employs flat characterization, fragmentary episodes, narration, musical interludes, chants etc to dispel illusion. The alienation theory thrives to infuse their works with didactic meaning. The style as popularized by Brecht promoted a manner of acting and film production that created a distance effect. The approach is best used in musical movies although it was also used successfully in Pulp Fiction.
The alienation theory thrives to presented distorted plot structure as each scene stands by itself, unfolding in a curve like manner and gives a picture of the world as it is and tasks the audience to face a test and spurs him to take a corrective action.
Impressionism in art started with painting in France in the late 19th Century. The impressionist style of filmmaking is a reaction against Hollywood’s domination of the French market; in the era following the World War I. French audience saw eight times more Hollywood footages than domestic footages. The film industry tried severally to recapture the market, mostly through the imitation of Hollywood styles and techniques but to no avail. During this period a new school of filmmakers emerge which included Abel Gance, Louis Delluc, Germaini Dulac, Marcel L’ Herbier and Jean Epstein, these filmmakers believed that cinema is an art form comparable to poetry , music and painting. Cinema should, they said, be purely itself and should not borrow from the theatre or literature (Bordwell and Kristin: 453).
The core of the Impressionist approach is the centrality of emotion. They often use love affairs as the basis of their exploration of fleeting moods and shifting sensations. The characters are often involved in psychological causes and there is a lot of prominence on the characters’ dreams, fantasies and mental standing. Impressionism also stresses the character’s personal emotions and this gives the films’ plot an intensely psychological focus. Impressionist film tries to render or depict mental states by means of cinematography and editing. Impressionistic film employs a great deal of point-of-view cutting, showing a shot of a character looking at something then a shot of that thing comes into view, from an angle and distance replicating the character’s vantage point.
Impressionism in film, also experiments with pronounced rhythmic editing to suggest the pace of an experience as a character feels it, moment by moment. During scenes of violence or emotional turmoil, the rhythm accelerates, the shots gets shorter and shorter, building to a climax, sometimes with shots only a few frames long. Consequently irises, masks and superimpositions functions as traces of character’s thoughts and feelings.
The impressionist cinema like impressionist painting replaced realistic action with the strange logic of the dream and it seeks a deeper and more profound reality than that presented to the rational, conscious mind. The intent is on inner action and not on external physical behaviour. The impressionists manipulated plot time and subjectivity to depict memoirs and flashbacks are common; sometimes the bulk of a film will be one flashback or a series of them.
The arrival of sound film in the mid 1920s truncated further expansion of the movement and impressionism as a distinct film movement can be said to have ceased by 1929, but the influence of the form – the psychological narrative, subjective camerawork and editing – is still with us today, most visibly in Hollywood “montage sequences” and in the horror film genre, film noir. The approach was used in Dark Corners, Gothika, Freddy Vs Jason just to mention a few.
Another movement grew side by side the Impressionist theory in France during the 1920s which offered a striking instance of how different film theories and movements may coexist in similar circumstances. Surrealism cinema was directly linked to Surrealism in literature and painting. Bordwell and Kristin, 1997 (455) posited that, “Surrealism was based on the belief in the superior reality of certain forms of association, heretofore neglected, in the omnipotence of dreams, in the undirected play of thought”. Highly influenced by Freudian psychology, Surrealist art sought to register the hidden currents of the unconscious, “in the absence of any control exercised by reason, and beyond any aesthetic and moral preoccupation”.
Surrealism is a style in which fantastical visual imagery from the subconscious mind is used with no intention of making the work logically comprehensible. Surrealism lies in the realm of fantasy. The Surrealist style is eclectic. Surrealist editing is an amalgamation of some impressionist devices. No particular devices were canonized by the Surrealists, since that would order and rationalize what had to be an “undirected play of thought”. The fortunes of Surrealist cinema shifted with changes in the art movement as a whole, as the movement in the art declined so did the Surrealist film style or theory.
While each of all these film theories has established conventions and canons, avant-gardism is a pot-pourri of all the aforementioned styles and many others borrowed from other arts and society. According to the Wikipedia, the free internet encyclopaedia, “avant-garde is a French word which means front guard, advance guard or vanguard”. People often use the term in French, English and German to refer to people or works that are experimental or novel, particularly with respect to art, culture or politics”. Avant-garde represents a pushing of the boundaries of what is accepted as the norm, or the status quo primarily in the cultural realm. As a matter of fact, all theories were referred to as avant-garde when they were first introduced one way or another because they challenged the established parameter of doing things that had held sway for long in their realm or area of conquest. The avant garde movement is always attempting to open up the pathway to a new cultural, social or political terrain for society. It is always pushing for new frontiers without which art itself would stagnate and become dormant
and merely a craft repeating the same style over and over.
The avant-garde approach in film and theatre involves combining different film styles in order to create a new approach for instance many works coalesces Brecht’s alienation theory with realism and naturalism as done in the Phantom of the Opera, Pretty Woman amongst others.
The theories explained above are the major styles or techniques that are adopted by filmmakers all over the world, howbeit in Nigeria, films are not been made along the tenets of these styles or techniques because of the dearth that exists in the film industry in Nigeria. Nonetheless some few Nigerian filmmakers adopt the doctrine of some of these techniques in their works unconsciously though because none of them has categorically stated his or her styles, some of them do not even know their style. The hypothesis of this essay is to identify what extent they have been subservient to these established principles.
There are many styles and many identities in the world, thus it becomes imperative for each individual to carve his or her own niche and stand out from the crowd. Many critics believe that quantity has replaced quality filmic output in the Nigerian film industry and creativity is required to provide some variety and balance. In spite of the many limitations and challenges facing the industry and her practitioners, some certain directors and producers have been able to create aesthetically acclaimed works for the audience. Some of these individuals include Amaka Igwe –Isaac, Muyiwa Ademola and Tunde Kelani.
However, because they are not grounded in theory, it would be difficult to pin them to particular styles thus the professional conscious that underpins their films as well as the subtextual and intertextual analysis of their works would be used in adjudging their individual aesthetics.
The artistic consciousness that permeates the works of these directors would be investigated and an empirical comparison of the overriding technical tendencies would be carried out against some of the world’s established film directing conventions. In all the working philosophies of each of these filmmakers will be evaluated to see what has made them some of the industry’s most admired.
Born sometime in 1963 to late Isaac Ene, from Obinagu-Udi in Enugu State, Amaka Igwe is CEO of Amaka Igwe Studios. A gifted writer and director, Amaka Igwe-Isaac has enthralled Nigerians and indeed audiences the world over with her amazing storytelling. This multi-award winning writer and director has produced several bestselling movies and television programmes, written several papers, and served on several committees and boards. She has also ventured into independent cable television.
She is one of the foremost movie directors in Nigeria today, and one of the few contemporary film makers who have had their films on celluloid. Amaka's celluloid film is A BARBER'S WISDOM - a film which is part of the M-Net's new direction on film project with Nigerian producers. Her films have drawn international recognition to the home video industry. She is producer of the award winning movie FOREVER and the long standing soap opera Checkmate. A prolific writer and movie director, she neither studied Theatre Arts or any arts related course. Rather, her encounter with movie world was by accident. She recounted in an interview “My pedigree in movie making is not like that of others who passed through experienced hands early in life. But I was a good storyteller. I can tell one story in several ways and the listeners will still enjoy the story. But I acted my first drama at the age of six. Then when I was in secondary school, I was a member of the dramatic society. Although I did not study Theatre Arts at the university, I was always going to act drama in the department. I was also writing and directing on stage. I did not study Theatre Arts because it was disregarded among my people. But after CHECKMATE, I started learning how to direct from Bolaji Dawodu and my cameraman who is more experienced than I was. If I call wrong shots, the cameraman would just excuse me outside to tell me what to do. This was how I grew up in directing.” Igwe has since produced movies like RATTLESNAKE I and II, VIOLATED I and II and many more. She studied Education/Religious Studies at the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University) Ile-Ife, Osun State, and did a Masters’ Degree in Library Sciences from the University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria. Amaka Igwe is also the driving force behind the Best of the Best Television, known as BOBTV, an annual film, documentary and television trade fair involving exhibitions, lectures, partnerships; which has been holding in Nigeria since 2002. The last edition had participants from all over Africa. Amaka Igwe-Isaac also known as Mrs Amaka Igwe-Ene is happily married to Mr Isaac Ene, her business partner who is also into the business of filmmaking. She is a proud mother of three who resides in Ikeja, Lagos with her family.
THE AESTHETICS OF AMAKA IGWE-ISAAC THE AMAKA IGWIAN DIRECTORIAL CONCEPT
Amaka Igwe-Isaac’s overriding directing style is realism. This view is deduced from a thorough investigation of her films, reviews of her films by journalists and other researchers and from personal interviews held with her and some persons who work with her on her set. She embraces contemporality. Amaka fiddles with current materials in dealing with topical issues which are germane to the growth and development of society, a trend observable in all her works from CHECKMATE, the first to the most recent, THE NEW WIFE. In CHECKMATE produced in 1991, she deals with the issue of gender equality and empowerment at a period when Nigeria was just warming up to the reality of female leadership in national polity and active participation in corporate society and she drew society’s attention to the ravaging effects of the Igbo Osu caste system which was popular at that time.In the RATTLESNAKE I, II and III that followed CHECKMATE, She preoccupied herself with the issue of teenage delinquency and social crimes. Using Ahana as a delinquent hero, She presents the public with the struggles of a teenager left alone to fed for himself and the consequences of such for society. IN TO LIVE AGAIN, which is a documentary- drama on marriage and marital issues, Amaka calls attention to the need for better rapport in marriages. APOSTLE KASALI is a realist onslaught on the evils and scams of the evangelical church business1 which is fast ravaging the entire religious ethos of our nation. In all these works cited and her others, Amaka hits the issue on its head. She does not use symbolism or try to justify her viewpoints with naturalism. She is pungent; saying it the way it is. Although she always use metaphors to avoid being too confrontational with her viewpoints. This inclination to a realistic depiction of life invariably influences the use of language, music, the camera point of view, the nature of storytelling, costume, acting and every other aspect of the aesthetics of her movies. She thrives to present events as they happens in real life, more so her approach bear semblance with Bertolt Brecht’s epic theatre because she believes that every film should be didactic; it should teach a lesson or at least push for a change in society or start a revolution.
STORY AND NARRATION
Amaka does the writing of her film stories herself. Though not formally trained as a scriptwriter or a playwright, she has learned the trade and grew in skill on the job to becoming one of the ‘few good men’ in the industry. There is no need to retrace the obvious, she carefully chooses her stories and work them out intelligently. She has an intriguing style to the way she tells and develops her film stories. Amaka also exhibits some feminist cinema tendencies, for instance, there is always the emerging female heroine who has to fight for herright to success in a male chauvinistic environment. Perhaps this is because she is one of the few female producers and directors in the Nigerian film industry. In CHECKMATE, the heroine is Anne Haastrup, a lady who must rise to her prominent destiny in spite of opposition even at heavy costs, just as Eme in VIOLATED had to overcome her hurts and emotional challenges in order to fulfil her destiny and Carol has to prove to Chief Taju Fuji’s children and their mothers why her last name has to be changed to Fuji in FUJI HOUSE OF COMMOTION. More over, Amaka is fond of the hero who has to emerge from grass to grace. There is Ahanna in RATTLESNAKE, Oluchi in VIOLATED and Mama in FOREVER. This is because in real life, there is always a challenge before glory. Like Brecht, Amaka adopts the episodic plot structure but not exactly like him as she defines her own approach as the multiple story plot. Amaka Igwe-Isaac uses the episodic- parallel system or the multiple story plot. This is the type of plot in which several stories are told simultaneously. Usually stories that have parallel themes or close similarity are juxtaposed, after all, life itself is in words and opposites, good and bad, nice and nasty and so on. She retorted in an interview with Fred Iwenjora that “…I had to learn the format of injecting other issues. Thus, the soap now becomes several stories in one story. We moved in with the issue of Osu caste system, then the sexual harassment going on in the university community where I was coming from at that time. You have about five different stories running simultaneously.” [The above refers to the multiplicity of stories in CHECKMATE] While in SOLITAIRE, Des is the young teenager who has to become a man when all support is cut off. DJ is the father who has to struggle to win the love of a child he had long abandoned. Furthermore, Amaka does well with comedy as social dramas, her comedy series-FUJI HOUSE OF COMMOTION is all-family favourite that is shown on leading television and cable stations around the country and the continent, it is also run internationally on AfricaMagic on DSTV. The series revolves around Chief Taju Fuji, his harem of wives and his “village of Children”2. Through the Fuji Family, Amaka explores a variety of themes and issues, especially polygamy and its antics, the benefits of family planning, the bond of brotherhood, jealousy, envy etc. From her debut, CHECKMATE, to her latest work, THE NEW WIFE, Amaka has taken on the duty of a social commentator or better, a satirist. She is either doing a social review (as in RATTLESNAKE I, II, III- dealing with the maltreating of the fatherless, juvenile delinquents and so on), VIOLATED I and II (dealing with rape and related issues), poking fun at some social menace or another (FUJI HOUSE OF COMMOTION and APOSTLE KASALI- both are centred on polygamy and the miracle church respectively) or addressing some misdemeanour in the social system, as did the Osu caste system and male chauvinism in CHECKMATE. Amaka tells her stories in the continuity–narrative style with an intelligent handling of suspense and the elements of surprise. It is jolting to discover that Ahanna did not die after all in RATTLESNAKE I, II, III and IV and it was astonishing to discover that Chief Fuji has a child outside of his “matrimonial home”3 known as Taju too, in FUJI HOUSE OF COMMOTION.
CHARACTER CREATION AND ACTING
It is speculated in some quarters that Amaka Igwe-Isaac was brought into the TV Soap Opera production in 1989 by some powers that be at the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) to antagonise Lola Fani-kayode, Nigeria’s foremost female TV series director who produced MIND BENDING and MIRROR IN THE SUN, the first Soap Operas to be on National Television. And more importantly to break a tribe’s domination of Television Soaps production because it was perceived to have a Yoruba stranglehold. However according to Amaka, this is not true. Rather Lola is a mentor and a sister-at-arm and from Lola’s works and their interactions, She learnt how to break free from the blight of the “star-system”. As she said in an interview, “I work with artistes and not stars because artistes are professionals while stars are in heaven whose images are longer than the work they have to do.” (Iwenjora: Vanguard, 2006) and because she does not rely on the star system, she seeks out fine actors who are able to embody the soul, spirit, body and life of the characters of her films. Unconsciously, Amaka has adopted Peter Brook’s theory of the poor theatre and Stanislavski method acting theories which emphasizes qualitative acting from the actors demanding that the invisible and the latent be made visible. Amaka once retorted in an interview: “that is the principle that has guided me over the years [referring to the earlier point made about the star system]. Acting is a serious work; it is not just a walk in the park. It is a lot of work which takes a lot for the artiste to internalise the roles and replay back. It is not egwusi (soup) and pounded yam. It takes a lot of concentration because the character you are playing today is not like the one you played yesterday or the one you will play tomorrow… I have always tried to work with people whose character would be different from the character they are playing somewhere else especially in soap opera… RMD (Richard Mofe Damijo) is an artiste I respect. He believes in my work. I enjoy working with him. We may have our differences. But we sort them out for the sake of the job. There are also other artistes that I respect. For the others, I always look at those who would be able to interpret scripts. It took a while for me to make the casting. I work with people who are decent. People who know that being an artiste must not make them take their personal lives unseriously. People who are organised and have good character.They internalise this character and bend down to work. I interviewed quite a number of people. There are several people whom I don’t want to work with. Like in the last work did, I called someone and he said ok and didn’t show up. Some would come and say ok, this role is very easy. Once you say that, I won’t take you. No role is easy. You have to internalise the role and character. I know when you are nervous and I know when you will be real. Some of the artistes have their reputation preceding them; I avoid those. Then, there are a group of actors who are just shylocks. They just collect the money and take off.”
Another interesting aspect of Amaka’s aesthetics is her employment of colour. There is an intelligent use of colours in her films. She believes that colours play an integral role in the visual prism, because it affects what the eyes sees and how it perceives it. Thus there is a rich play on colours in the setting, costumes and make-up. She uses bright and contrasting colours which help to boost the overall appeal of her films. She utilises actual, real life setting in all her works which helps to improve the believability of her stories and helps the audience identify more easily with the setting and context of the story. In FUJI HOUSE OF COMMOTION, Chief Taju and his family occupy a three-floors building all by themselves.She ensures that the actors are well made-up and costumed. As a matter of personal opinion, I am yet to see any work by her in which any actor is dressed in a way less appropriate than he is supposed to. She gives necessary attention to important details. She does not make use of special effects just yet, because the technology for creating striking, fascinating and sublime effects are not readily available around here and also because it is expensive and a high risk venture in terms of recouping investment if such were to be done abroad. Another reason could be because there has been very little requirement for such in her works.
Because film sound and tones determines to a great extent the audience understands of a movie. Amaka Igwe-Isaac ensures that the music in her films intelligently constructed and laid out and in proper sync with the film’s plot. She does not use common tunes synonymous to Nollywood. In APOSTLE KASALI the music is purely instrumental while in FUJI HOUSE OF COMMOTION the theme music is a song which in itself is an artistic commotion- it is a part highlife, half afro beat and soul music. Where the plot of the story allows it, Amaka infuses extensive music sequence into the chronological flow of the story as she did in FOREVER.
CAMERA FRAME OF VIEW
The realistic penchant of Amaka Igwe-Isaac is brought to bear in the camera work of her movies. She tells her story from a first person perspective; the spectator sees the action unfold just as the character to which it is happening experiences it. It is hard to come by a third person perspective style of storytelling in any of Amaka’s works such devices as dreams, trance, vision etc. She is yet to use any of those. The perspective of storytelling largely determines how the camera captures the story. Amaka makes optimal use of the primary shots (close shot, medium shot and long shot) and the non-spatial movements of the camera with zooming (-in and -out), fades, dissolves, wipe etc. Amaka does not use much of the dolly and she has not use transitions and passages: dreams, visions, trance and she sparingly uses about flashback; when she does it is in very small doses.
Amaka Igwe-Isaac makes up in editing the things she leaves out in camerawork. Amaka juxtaposes her shots doing editing in order to create an interesting sequence on the whole. She uses elliptical editing. An elliptical editing is a style of editing that “presents an action in such a way that it consumes less time on the screen than it does in the story” (Bordwell and Kristin, 1997:283) so as not to overstrain the action. This technique ensures that only the details important to move the story forward and help the spectator understand the action is what is shown him. Thus Amaka does show not show us how Kasali escapes from the guardroom but shows the spectator the event that facilitates it in APOSTLE KASALI. In RATTLESNAKE IV Ahanna is seen in Mexico after being shot and confirmed dead in Nigeria but before that scene we see his father-in-law making plans for relocating abroad to avoid the shame of having a notorious criminal for a son-in-law. This technique springs from a desire not to say everything about the story at once but to jolt him with surprise and keep the audience in suspense. Moreover, Amaka Igwe-Isaac makes a good use of juxtapositions and blending in the arrangement and editing of her shots which helps the overall message of her films. In VIOLATED, the rape is not shown but suggested because it is morbid to show a rape.
Amaka Igwe celebrates culture, but not in the style of Tunde Kelani or in the sense of any other Nigerian filmmaker. She celebrates the borrowed culture of Nigeria, the culture of modern Nigeria. The type that has embraces borrowed “foreign” culture but is still very much in tune with the traditions and nuances of ingenious culture of Nigeria. Also she sets most of her work in her own culture, which is Igbo. CHECKMATE features a number of Igbo characters, RATTLESNAKE I –IV has an Igbo cultural pretext and context so as all her other works, it is only FUJI HOUSE OF COMMOTION and its sequels APOSTLE KASALI, NEW WIFE,NEW WAHALA that are set outside of her own culture. Amaka is not fixed by her own cultural experiences but rather thrives to make her work universal. END NOTES1 The miracle church is the wave of Christianity reigning in Nigeria with many churches springing up and their Pastors manifesting all sorts of miracles commonly speculated to be evil and focusing on this and the message of prosperity alone.2 This is how Barrister Sabinos describes Chief Fuji’s Children in the video film Apostle Kasali: the Man of the Hour, produced and directed by Amaka Igwe-Isaac, colour/ English, 2004.It was written by Amaka Igwe-Isaac.3 I mean outside the marriages he has that are publicly acknowledged, he has four known wives and countless concubines, his known wives in the series are Kunbi (1st Wife), Peace( 2nd Wife), Ireti (3rd Wife) and Caro (4th Wife).
No doubt, Ademola Oluwamuyiwa Adeyinka is a household name in the Nigeria film industry especially in the Yoruba sphere. He has esthablished his authority, thanks to the numerous roles plays in the home video industry; he is an actor, a director, screenwriter and a producer. His efforts include movies like OGO OSUPA, ORI, ILE I and II, ÒRISA OKE and many others which he both wrote and directed. He is of Ègba origin man from Oke Ago-Òwò, Ogun state but he has lived a larger part of his life in Ibadan. Muyiwa Ademola’s father was a staff of the Nigerian Railway Corporation until his retirement and his mother was a housewife. Muyiwa’s journey into the video film industry is a rather interesting one and it goes a long way to affirm the Biblical belief that “a man’s gifts will make a way for him” and also the Yoruba cosmology of Òri (destiny). Born 26th January, 1974, he had his primary education at Christ Church School, Èlekuro, and Ibadan and was at St. Davies High School, Kudéti, Ibadan for Secondary education from where he proceeded to obtain a diploma in Adult Education and Community Development from the University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Oyo state, Nigeria. He is currently doing a degree at the same institution in the same discipline.
Muyiwa Ademola is a gifted writer; and according to him, he has being writing from childhood. He got into the Yoruba video film industry by a stroke of luck. He had written some stories which he wanted published sometime after leaving secondary school and while looking for a publisher he came across the famous Yoruba actor, Charles Olumo (Baba Agbako) whom he gave some of the manuscripts to read and probably buy. Impressed by the stuff the young school leaver had put together without any formal training in screenwriting, Charles Olumo invited him to join the industry. This was in 1992, the same year He (Muyiwa) wrote his Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (SSCE). Since then he has risen through the ranks and files of the industry from a writer-actor apprentice to a notable director-producer and drama school proprietor. His big break came in 1994 when he starred as co-lead actor in ASISE (Blunder) alongside Dele Odule, an A-List Yoruba film actor. ASISE was based on a script Muyiwa wrote and it was selected for production by an Ibadan business mogul, Chief Ropo Apata (Dialdel)1 who had called for script in 1993. His directorial debut was in 1997 in a film he directed and co-produced with Akinyemi Olaiya. Today he is a highly sought-after producer –director who has won many awards and honours for film in Nigeria and abroad. He acts, produces, directs as well as manages his own production company- MuyAuthentic presentations.
THE AESTHETICS OF MUYIWA ADEMOLA
Muyiwa Ademola’s overriding directorial tendency is naturalism. His movies present the protagonist as subservient to forces and events in his environment in sync with the dictates of the naturalistic movement. Like August Strindberg and Emila Zola he believes that a man is a product of his environment and his hereditary traits .In OGO OSUPA, the protagonist’s breakthrough in life is determined by some forces beyond his own reach and his challenge is to connect to these forces in his environment in order to accomplish his objectives in life. His naturalistic traits are however tempered with Surrealism. There is a massive display of the hidden thoughts of the mind, the outplay of dreams and the involvement of supernatural forces in his movies.
Muyiwa Ademola’s fondest subject- matter is the theme of destiny. All his works explores this idea one way or another, the notion of Ori2 itself is cosmological, naturalistic and surrealistic. The belief states that a man’s way are predestined, there is nothing he can do to change it and any attempt to change it inches the person closer to the predetermined destiny which is dictated by Obatala and other gods in the heavenlies and the environment.
STORY AND NARRATION
An obvious aspect of Muyiwa Ademola’s aesthetics is the story. In movie after movie, Muyiwa brings before his audience in a most awe-inspiring manner, plots that deals with the theme of destiny. This is because he believes in the Yoruba cosmological notion of Ori, as aforementioned all his films explore this idea one way or another. He disclosed to me in a personal interview3 conducted for this study that
“even though when I do not set out to do this, my audience tells me that my film deals with Òri”
This no doubt makes his works seem stereotypical but “Authentic” as he is often called in production circles has found a way to make each of his films unique by the infusion of alternate themes along the predominant subject matter of Òri. In ÒRI, Yinka is the protagonist who is destined to suffer for a wrong not done by him but whose responsibility he had claimed in order to protect the perpetuator, his friend - Akin, who ends up betraying him. Through such a plot “Authentic” extols the theme of betrayal in friendship and also in touches on the issue of abortion, love and the need for the society to take care of the mentally imbalanced. In ILE, alongside predestination as the main subject matter he explores the theme of brain drain occasioned by the mass exodus or outflux of Nigerians to America, Asia and Europe and other places in search of greener pastures. He does thus through the story of Onikede, a young graduate who relocates to Ireland in search of a better life and returns home empty-handed simply because he has placed a curse on himself unconsciously..
Muyiwa Ademola does not have a rigid system of storytelling; he alternates between narrative continuity and non-narrative continuity or narrative discontinuity as the technique is otherwise called, making a good usage of the elements of surprise, suspense and shock. He also shares Bertolt Brecht’s ideology that theatre, cinema and arts in general must teach morals and as much as possible he makes his works didactic.
CHARACTER CREATION AND ACTING
It seem almost impossible for Muyiwa to do a film that does not feature stars or known faces in the industry, a phenomenon that makes his works look ordinary and rather anticipated.In his own defence he said that:
“to me they are not stars but colleagues, people who helped me to become
who I am, they are mentors I have been on with them ever since I entered
the industry. Do I now tell them that they are not fit to feature in my
work? If people call them stars, do I join to call them stars? They are my
colleagues and it is only humane and natural to put them in roles where
they fit and can perform, just as they will do for me in their own films”
(Personal Interview with Shola Adenugba, 16th July, 2006)
He does not usually audition for his films but uses type-casting and stock characterisation in choosing the cast of his works; but for stunts and other smaller roles he gets students and up-starts from his drama school and from other training schools run by his colleagues. This is because the films are most of the time shot on zero budget and introducing new actors involves some funding. Moveover it is a risk that many producers and marketers do not want to take. Actually this fact loops his aesthetics.
Furthermore, he employs naturalism in his works by making his actors move and react to situations the way the average persons would react; this often informs the use of improvisational speech in his films. His works feature scenes that are filmed with improvisation dialogue.
Like Brecht, Muyiwa Ademola intercepts his films with songs and music. He borrows and employs folk music and songs that emphasizes the theme of the story and strengthens the plot. The music are usually cultural in content and outlook.
The opening music/song in ILE says:
“ Ile o, Ile o daku magba bo de si mi Ile o”
[oh Earth, oh Earth, don’t bewitch my life o earth etc]
The song gives insight into the story. In ÒRI. The song says
“ Ori mi apere,Ori adimula o, Ori gbere komi o
Agbe ni gbere pade Olokun …Ori mi o gbe
[My head my luck giver, my head my rewarder, my head bring me blessings]
Moreover he uses music to elicit the desired mood and response in the spectator. He also employs silence for effect. In ORI, the scene sequence that shows Yinka losing his sanity and roaming the street was in silence.According to Muyiwa; such silence helps to draw out compassion in the spectator for the hero.
Muyiwa does a lot of discontinuity editing in order to build suspense in the audience. He uses constructive editing to draw attention to the setting of his work and also structural editing to mix shots that make up a scene or an action. In ORI the movements of the mad Yinka from Lagos –to– Idanre is contained in a single sequence that was structurally edited and blended together.
Muyiwa Ademola does not shoot himself but he is involved in the scripting of the screenplay of his films. He is shown in the picture above changing ideas on how best to capture a scene on the set of IYONU OLORUN. Muyiwa Ademola blends a three person narrative with an eye of God/ Omniscient perspective in the telling of his stories. In a Muyiwa ademola’s work, the spectator confronts a work as the story of some other persons and not themselves but he brings in the human elements by reason of the suffering the hero experiences. There are intriguing shot composition and framing in MuyAuthentic’s works. There is a lot over-shoulder shots in group scenes as in the last scene of ORISA OKE, the Osa Kobenikanja’s worship scene in ILE,
he also uses high angle shots in establishing his locales and the primary shots (Long shots, Medium shots and Close shots) are properly deplored in his films and the dialogue are clear. This feat can be attributed to the fact that his works are shot by Sunday Ogunyemi who was trained and groomed by Tunde Kelani.
Spectacle is also well used in his films, the most interesting aspect of which is the setting.He always sets the right atmosphere with the scenery.ÒRI and ILÈ deals with modern issues. ORI is about abortion and fidelity in love affairs while ILÈ explores the issue of migration and prosperity. These two stories are set in the city but they also feature modernised traditional village settings as the plot required.Yinka gets the remedy to his insanity in a village from an Obatala priest and Onikede met his fiancée Bimbo in the village where he did his NYSC before travelling abroad. Òrisa Oke is set in traditional locales. He endeavours to place the action in the proper context which enhances the aesthetics of his works.
Dances are also suitably employed by Muyiwa not as a time-fiiler but as an aesthetic component of the film story being told. The scene of the invocation of Òsa Kòbenikanja in Ilè shows a good understanding of the use of dance as aesthetics, dancing is a part of the invoaction rite of the Òsa. Well choreographed movements were executed in the scene..
Costumes and make-up are also well done in his films, a feat that is attributable to an eye for details and the involvement of core professionals in these areas on his projects. Although he does not emphasize colour which helps a film’s appeal, the way Tunde Kelani or Amaka Igwe-Isaac would. Also there are other loopholes such as mechanical body adornment in the name of make-up as it is used for Yinka in ORI, but such are insignificant to weaken the message being expressed. Also he uses props well in his films. The Babalawo’s office and shrine in his works are usually well portrayed in his works. But he needs to put more effort into the use of special effects, the introduction of the deux-ex-machina in ÒRISA OKE is rather imperfect more energy should be expanded in that area.
Muyiwa celebrates some element of borrowed culture in his works, especially those aspects that had been adopted by society including western marriage practices, education,burial rites.
Muyiwa Ademola represents the contemporary Yoruba society in his works, which has stepped the culture of the West with Yoruba indigneous culture but still holding in high esteem certain elements and aspects of the Yoruba life. He says that does this with a desire to satisfy his audience who are the emergent class of educated Yoruba youths, who enjoy the Yoruba Isèsé and are appropriating it with their imbibed Western knowledge. It is not that Muyiwa himself refuses or rejects his own culture but he uses his culture as the basis of his works. Incantations, traditional rituals, proverbs, riddles and folk rites are well employed in his stories and he makes his films in his mother tongue- Yoruba. His fondest theme- the theme of destiny is a Yoruba’s world view of life and living.
1 Dialdel is the nickname of Chief Ropo Apata, a popular Generator distributor of power generating sets in the City of Ibadan and a patron of the arts.
2 The Yoruba people of South-Western Nigeria practices the worship of the head (ORI).It
is believed that by so doing evil would be waded off and only good forces would be
attracted to the person whose head is washed. ORI is also referred to as destiny, a
phenomenon that no man has power to change as it is the part a person chooses before
Obatala when departing for earth from heaven.
3 He disclosed this to me in the course of an interview I had with him at his home in Ashi, Ibadan, Oyo State on Sunday, July 16th, 2006
Born on 26th February,1948 in Lagos, Nigeria to Muslim parents. Babatunde started had primary education at Oke-Ona United Primary School, Iberekodo, Abeokuta between 1955 and 1960 and between 1962 and 1966 he was at Abeokuta Grammar School for secondary education.Tunde Kelani holds a Diploma in the Art and Technique of Filmmaking from the London International Film School, London. After many years in the Nigerian Film Industry as a Cinematographer, he now manages Mainframe Film & Television Productions, an outfit formed to document Nigeria’s rich culture. Tunde Kelani has worked on most feature films produced in the country in his capacity as a Cinematographer. Some of the 16mm feature films he worked on include: ANIKURA; OGUN AJAYE; IYA NI WURA; TAXI DRIVER; IWA and FOPOMOYO. In the area of video film productions, he has to his credit award-winning feature videos: TI OLUWA NILE Parts I, II, III, AYO NI MO FE Parts I and II, KOSEEGBE and OLEKU.
An advocate of ‘Alternative Technology’ in motion picture production in Africa, Tunde Kelani has successfully produced and directed some digital features incuding SAWOROIDE, THUNDERBOLT and AGOGO-EEWO. He has also completed work on his latest digital film ‘AKANNI’ shot for widescreen digitally on DVCAM and he is currently working on DOG ON LION’S TAIL (English version), an adaptation Kola Akinlade’s Yoruba novel AJA TO ‘N LE PA EKUN and its French version.
In addition to the M-NET short features films, ‘TWINS OF THE RAIN FOREST’, ‘A PLACE CALLED HOME’ and ‘BARBER’S WISDOM (35MM) , he also photographed, produced and directed a short feature in 16mm ‘THE WHITE HANDKERCHIEF’ in the same series. He has since added THE CAMPUS QUEEN’, ABENI I & II and THE NARROW PATH, the first set of works to probe further the possibilities of advanced digital filmmaking. He is a recipient of many national film awards and honours. Tunde Kelani is co-ordinating a Mobile Cinema Project, designed to take information and entertainment to the grassroot.
THE MAN AND HIS AESTHETICS
TK as he is fondly called by fans and associates at work (Pix from the University of West Indies home page (2004)
Tunde Kelani’s directorial propensity tends towards realism, allegorism (allegory) and symbolism blended with realism. His style is largely avant-gardist in nature, his works attempts to describe human behaviour and represent phenomena and situations as is in real life but with an infusion of symbolism, allegory and a little dose of realism to avoid a too direct altercation with formations and or events which his pictures may attack or address. In SAWOROIDE and AGOGO EEWO in which made strong comments about Nigeria’s polity in the 1990s and the key players in that political experience. There are parallel to all the characters in the two films in our society. In CAMPUS QUEEN he jabs at the ruling class who are pouring their corruption into the upcoming generation but he tempered down the harsh reaction that could have ensued from the ruling class by diluting the plot with music.
STORY AND NARRATION
Although he does not write the original story of his films, Kelani does the screenplay having selected the script or the story. He is careful to select stories with thematic preoccupation that borders on the socio-politico, economic and cultural milieu of the Nigerian society, state or nation. He adopts stories from the rich cultural and literary resource of his race under a Print to Screen project by which he source for good literatures that are adaptable to the screen. He said
“It is important for me to always base what I do on my culture and it is not a question of language only. The latest production I had was adapted from Bayo Adebowale’s novel; The Virgin. The novel is written in English but it is very rich culturally. It inspired me from many directions. I started the project; From Print to Screen having realised that the new generation of Nigerians doesn’t read any longer. Occasionally, I dip into our literary resources to bring out a novel, something that I can adapt for screen and I have done this successfully through Thunderbolt, written by Adebayo Faleti as well as Kosegbe and Oleku written by Professor Akinwumi Ishola.”
(Personal Interview with Shola Adenugba, 15th July, 2006)
Such movies as KOSEEGBE and O LE KU are adaptations of the Yoruba novels KOSEEGBE and O LE KU by Akinwumi Ishola. In the same vein he touches on the need for cultural preservation in TO OLUWA NI LE I, II and III.He attempts to sensitize his audience about a burning issue with each work. Tunde Kelani borrows the didactic element from Bertolt Brecht alienation technique and Henrik Ibsen’s modern drama. In TO OLUWA NI LE I, II & II, he admonishes that our culture must not be allowed to erode because of some of foreign development. A group of land speculators enlists the help of a traditional chief to sell ancestral land fraudulently to a businessman who plans to build a petrol station. The community resists, and the matter is taken to court and the culprits win but in retribution, they start dying one after another in bizarre circumstances. They are killed by the gods, the fourth person; Oloye Otun (played by Kazeem Adepoju alias Baba Wande) refuses to die hence trouble ensues. In the THUNDERBOLT Kelani deals with the political theme of national unity, an important unfinished business for Nigeria in the aftermath of the brutal Civil War of the 1960s1, using trust in the inter-tribal marriage of Yinka and Ngozi and the Magun implant as a springboard for its exploration, in the CAMPUS QUEEN he challenges the youth to chart a new course for national development by exhibiting visionary and responsible leadership different from the example of our leaders.
Tunde Kelani chooses stories that would allow some measure of social commentary; thus he has created a style that ensures the integrity of his dramatic product. According to him,“the most important thing is the story. I just come across anything…maybe a novel, maybe an idea or something, a viewpoint, and I just recognize the story that’s in it. Once I know there’s a story in it, I know there’s an audience for it, as long as I can feel I can use this particular story and I can get people to share this story or this experience with me–so I pay a lot of attention to the story first. In our own situation now in Nigeria where we don’t have access to a lot of funds and we probably lack the necessary infrastructure in terms of hardware and so on, I hardly do special effects. But people have responded very well to whatever I do, which means that they enjoy the storytelling experience. I think that – for now – is the strong point in anything that I do.”
(Personal Interview with Shola Adenugba, 15th July, 2006)
With story, Tunde Kelani imbues his works with a characteristic sense of rhythm, colour, vivaciousness, and artistic balance. Tunde Kelani uses film as a medium to “make statements of human needs and values that bring up in their own time, pleasure and excitement to his…audience”.[ African and Caribbean Film Festival Website,2006]
CHARACTER CREATION AND FIGURE EXPRESSION
Character portrayal and characterisation is another area in which the aesthetics of Tunde Kelani is obvious. TK as he is fondly called does not make “star-studded” flicks”. He uses actors who are able to embody the spirit and soul of the characters of his works and not “stars” as is the norm in the industry. Thus one sees individuals who are not Nollywood’s regular faces but fits very well into character such as Adebayo Faleti who play Baba in SAWOROIDE and Akinwunmi Ishola and High Royal Highness, King Wale Amele who are Alagba and Oloye respectively in KOSEEGBE among many examples. Kelani works his actors to the point where the character emerges from an actor. TK does not belief in shooting star studded works. He says:
“I don’t make photo album, but I use actors that embodies the spirit of the
(Personal Interview with Shola Adenugba, 15th July,2006 )
The use of spectacle further emphasizes Tunde Kelani’s aesthetics. There is a way he uses props, make-up, costumes and scenery that gives his works variegated effects and keeps his audience in awe. In O LE KU, the props usage is quite unique. TK brings before the spectator old automobiles including a Volkswagen Beetle car and the old Morris which were used in the movie. In his other works he pays no less attention to the use of props and details that are relevant to help the audience grapple the unfolding story plot and enhance the film’s aesthetics as a work of art.
Being a loyalist of the Yoruba culture, it is not out of place to see elaborate use of traditional costumes in his films, especially those that have historic and cultural twists to them.. In his movies he shows the richness of Yoruba dressing, in the extravagance of the Asó-òfi, Sanyan, Ėku and other traditional materials worn by the cast. Also he ensures that the appropriate make-up is used.
Tunde Kelani gives attention to realism; the use of scenery is an area that has made him popular with his audience. Unlike directors that use gigantic and very exquisite buildings and locales. Kelani thrives to use locales that are the most suitable for the story he wants to tell, within the confines of the film story. EFUNSETAN ANIWURA was shot on location in Kube,Cotonóu, Republic of Benin, simply because the Nigerian villages and ancestral settings with the kind mud houses of Efunsetan’s time are spoilt; Nigerian villages that have been modernised with electric fittings and installations, so he goes to neighbouring Republic de Benin to shoot his films. At other times, he chooses set that are most related to the desired locale if the desired is not obtainable.
Following in the trail of Adolphe Appia,Tunde Kelani also makes very good use of colours, which he employs in order to create tones, contrast, and artistic effect and to enhance the overall appeal of the film. He uses colour in the costumes worn by the actors. Colour helps image being filmed to register better on tape.
He copies Brecht by the infusion of the total theatre elements –drama, music and dance into his films. The intelligent usage of dance repertoire within a film story is an important aspect of Kelani-an aesthetics. In SAWOROIDE, there is a dance contest that features Arapa-re-gangan and Arese-ra-bata. In CAMPUS QUEEN there is a concert that features music and dance. There are nightclub scenes in ABENI featuring musical performances by major actors in the play.
Through music Tunde Kelani further enhance the telling of his film story. A Yoruba man to the core, Tunde goes into his cultural traditions for instruments and songs that would enable him tell his story. The theme music or the central score of his works are done with the talking drum; this is to be expected because the insignia of his production company Mainframe “Opomulero” Film Production is the talking drum and because the instrument enables him pass heavy messages and information to the audience in an allegorical manner without being overbearing or forceful in his call for change.
Through the rhythm of the talking drum he warns the leadership of our society to be careful in SAWOROIDE. Cultural but highly dynamic, Kelani is not static or dogmatic; he uses music as an instrument not just for storytelling to the spectator but also as entertainment. For instance in ABENI there is a lot of singing as the lead character is a singer, in the CAMPUS QUEEN there is a lot of upbeat music which is what the youth listens to. The concert scene in the film features a rich variety of music and songs from different genres- folk, hip hop, rap etc, all with a touch of African culturalism.
The songs from CAMPUS QUEEN -IF THEY NO LIKE AM, NITORI OLUWA WA, CAMPUS QUEEN etc- set Kelani apart from others. Tunde uses original scores. The theme music/ soundtrack for SAWOROIDE was created by Sunny Neji also the theme music for CAMPUS QUEEN was composed and performed by Sound Sultan. Furthermore, whenever there is an opportunity to feature a party scene in any Tunde Kelani’s work, he goes all out to get a band usually a real-life band to perform. This is also a way of helping the music industry grow. Victor Olaiya performed in OLEKU. A popular Juju maestro performed in AYO NI MO FE.
CAMERA FIELD OF VIEW
Tunde Kelani tells his story in the omniscient manner which enables the audience sees the events as it happens not as participant but as an observer. This is so that he can learn from the errors, merits and deeds of the characters in the film story. The omniscient style of narration influences the camera field of view.
Perhaps the greatest aspect of his aesthetics is his cinematography. He understands the way the camera sees. He has a good grasp of camera movements, angles of view and distance owing to his many years of working as cameraman and director of photographer on the set of many films. He brings these to the fore in his works; he has stunning framing and intelligent cutting.
There is a thrifty use of flashbacks, the dream motive and other devices that is rested on the subconscious. A probable reason for this may be his advocacy for social change, the idea that our society like our lives is what we make of it. In KOSEEGBE, Chief Arowolo and the members of the gang are consciously resisting change for the better, a change that ensure equity and fairplay. In AYO NI MO FE, Ayo consciously take advantage of the young maiden until it so happen he could not eat his cake and have it. I feel that TK believes in fairness, what you give is what you get. Thus I am not surprised that a story with a theme that borders on destiny, fate, Yoruba philosophy of “Ayanmo” or “Eleda” has not come from his stable yet.
Kelani does his films in narrative continuity and he finishes his story, he leaves nothing to chance, unlike other directors in Nollywood who tell their stories in parts, although TO ‘LUWA NILE and AYO NI MO FE are in three and two parts respectively, all his other works begin and end on one tape. This structure boosts his artistry and aesthetics because he gets his story told at one stroke.
TK uses continuity editing mostly but he also use discontinuity techniques such as shots juxtaposition, structural editing which he usually employs to indicate the passage of time. In addition, he adopts elliptical editing as he did in MAGUN (THUNDERBOLT) to shorten the time of the action.
Tunde Kelani has a penchant for cultural representation, and he represents the indigenous or cultural filmmaking experience in Nigeria. He attempts to documents the Yoruba culture which he is concerned is eroding amongst the young and upcoming generation.
Tunde Kelani’s works presents a background of unique cultural experiences. He brings together elements in his culture to cohere and form a meaningful whole in his works, but this whole is a gestalt, that is to say, the totality of the work is more than the sum of the disparate parts. Tunde Kelani’s artistry lies in the way he brings the complementary elements of his culture and environment together to develop and make philosophical statement about society.
All his works celebrate the Yoruba culture one way or another, this is because he believes that the Yoruba culture is being substituted for the culture of the White man and he disclosed that:
“by projecting my culture people would sees the beauty of our
culture and value it not relegate as we are doing right now”.
In an interview with Cindy Alisi of The SUN Newspaper, Tunde Kelani divulged that he has the vision of taking culture to a greater height through his productions. He has found out that the new generation of Nigerians no longer read, hence his project seeks to retain the past literary and cultural resources. He also wants other producers to join in this new trend of retaining indigenous literature and theatre. He says:
“I produce films/movies that have a lot of cultural content. And in this rapidly globalising world, it is important for me to always base what I do on my culture and it is not a question of language only”
It is important to note that cultural consciousness is not a style, but it gives a philosophical foundation for Tunde Kelani’s filmic expression. It affects the shots, the choice of story, location, costume, make-up and character movement and how he treats the audio materials of his work.
Also, he says he uses film as a form to capture the richness of his culture in order to project it to the world and preserve it for generations unborn just as the NOK and the Igbo-Ukwu culture did with clay. He said this in an interview with Sola Osofisan sometime back:
“I’m not an academic. I’m just a filmmaker. I’m just a storyteller telling it the African way. Maybe all along, we had left other people to tell our stories. Maybe doing it ourselves is bound to generate some kind of interest. I think that’s what is happening. I think more importantly, I’m just being true to myself. And since I don’t want to be a poor copy of another culture, everybody is welcome”
CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
THE FUTURE OF DIRECTING IN THE NIGERIAN MOTION PICTURE INDUSTRY.
This essay has attempted an appraisal of the aesthetics of Nigerian video films reviewing the works of three Nigerian directors who have distinguished themselves namely: Tunde Kelani, Muyiwa Ademola, and Amaka Igwe-Isaac. From the vast volume of literature and materials presented, it has been proven that Nigerian video film industry is the largest video-film culture in the world and the third largest filmmaker in the world after America’s Hollywood and India’s Bollywood. The industry has a large following from countries on the African continents to Europe, Australia and Asia. Helen Muchimba pointed out that the export of Nigerian films has been remarkable, even if most of the profits do not end up in the right hands; they are what is on television in Namibia and on sale on the streets of Kenya [BBC Focus On Africa, 2006]. In Congo, they are broadcast with the soundtrack turned down while an interpreter tells the story in Lingala or other languages. In New York, Chinese people are buying them. In Holland, Nollywood stars are recognized on the streets by people from Suriname, and in London they are hailed by Jamaicans,[ Haynes,2005]. The industry has a lot of potentials for growth and further expansion. However it needs immediate rescue from aesthetic deficiencies and technical violations which undermines the quality of the films, else it may decline like the indigenous cinema which rose in the 1970’s and died in the late 1980s giving way to the rise of Nollywood as the Nigerian video film industry is colloquially called. If Nollywood is allowed to die, Nigeria may never recover it as other African countries are waiting to take its place of prominence. It was reported recently that Southern and Eastern African filmmakers gathered at a conclave in Zanzibar are contemplating the Nollywood model in order to escape from (their) problem of dependence on foreign donors and also how to buy into the mind of the African audience whom Nollywood has taken over [Muchimba,2005] Furthermore, there is no gainsaying the fact that filmmakers in Nollywood should take the issue of production value with utmost attention because technically and aesthetically a bulk of Nollywood’s works are not yet there. Onookome Okome in an upcoming paper on the Nigeria film industry said that
“video film practice is defined by the aesthetics of poverty”. This aesthetic of poverty is not an option taken by video filmmakers. It is one that is forced upon them by the economic exigencies of the time. They have taken the challenge to work within the poverty of technology. Even so, not all third cinemas do so with ideological clarity. Popular video film has some of the character of this Oppositionality but lacks a concerted ideological frame”.
The above statement captures the spirit of the Nigerian film industry and the exigency of having the industry properly organised. Currently many directors in the Nigerian video film industry are not in charge of film productions. They have the artistic control by virtue of being director and not the financial energy that guarantees better quality filmmaking and mark you not even all of them has the artistic license. Some are in the trade because it the business for the now. Below some steps that could help the industry grow aesthetically are examined.
STEPS TO A RENAISSANCE
The issue of technical content improvement of local movies should be taken quite seriously by practitioners in the industry. In the words of Femi Odugbemi, the outgoing president of ITPAN (Independent Television Producers Association of Nigeria),
“the greatest challenge fundamental to the future of the Nigerian motion picture industry is how to sustain its viability by making it relevant to socio-economic development, artistically and economically.”
He posits further “sustainability and growth will be determined by the “success” of the content we create … to economically empower the storytellers we must also grow our audiences. That means we must pay urgent attention to quality of products. As in any business, the customer is king. In this era of satellite and cable programming, our audiences yearn for content that deliver entertainment of recognizable value content that educates and informs, content that inspire and motivate, content that accurately document our socio-political realities, content that advances positive values to redress the moral and economic decline of our communities; and yes, content that challenge our leadership in this democratic experience to show greater commitment, integrity and sensitivity. In short, content that provokes”,
And if I may add content that startles, thrills and excites the audience the way the content of India films and Hollywood films do .This is because Nollywood contests with Bollywood and the Hollywood for the same audience and in stiff competitions the best product at affordable price sells more. Also Nigerian filmmakers should bear in mind that foreign films are everywhere, and are standing by to take over the market.
The power of an improved and perfect content to turn around the fate of Nollywood cannot be overemphasized. Attention should be given to quality and good stories well told. Because film is more than figuring out where to put the camera and what lens to use before shooting. It means articulating a clear and provocative purpose for telling the tale. I will also like to quote the conclusion of Afolabi Adesanya’s paper at the 6th edition of ITPAN forum in which he re-emphasize the need for Nigerian video films to improve on their offering for the industry to take its right place on the world’s film stage
“…I commend to you the 6th edition of the Lagos International Forum on Cinema, Video and Motion Picture in Africa, which … challenge us to tell our own story, our own style but by global cinema standard because we will be judged by its global template as films has a universal language, the visuals!”
It is high time that Nigerian video films stopped featuring shaking picture, inadequate use and balancing of lights. Shadows should not be included in our frames, audio must be audible, soundtrack unique and indigenous not an overt lifting of other people’s effort. Acting should be well done and diction properly managed.
New theories and stories, better technical quality, interesting suspense and captivating soundtracks are some of the factors that will ensure Nollywood’s survival. Following the above, I will also recommend that the government should come to the rescue of the industry. The first era of filmmaking in Nigeria died because the governments of that period did not see it as a viable industry. Individuals grew it and it died when most of them died such as Hubert Ogunde, Ade “love” Afolayan.
Government should eliminate import tax on films equipment and materials – cameras, tapes, sound equipment etc to help the industry grow. If such taxes are removed, the producers can afford to buy modern equipment for their use, the Governor of Cross-River state, Mr Donald Duke deserves some applaud for the TINAPA Free Trade Zone Enterprise which he initiated in conjunction with the Federal Government and the encouragement of filmmaking, the movie “AMAZING GRACE, (Jetta Amata, 2006) was made with grants/fund and support from the Cross-River State government.
Also government should inaugurate a working film fund for the industry, such that filmmakers can access for their use. Such schemes exists in the United States where government provide some materials for filmmaking; processing laboratories for celluloid reels, cameras etc which can be rented at very reduced and highly subsidized rates. In Calabar, Cross River state has a multi-million pound investment in state-of-the-art equipment and technology.3
Also initiatives such as the Best of the Best Television (BOBTV) floated by filmmaker Amaka Igwe-Isaac should be encouraged by government and all stakeholders in the industry because such events provide a great opportunity for networking, collaborations and enhances the industry’s growth. Also the National Film Corporation and the Ministry of Arts and Culture should support it so that the project can yield more results and all such matter of sabotage that trailed the last edition of the event would be a thing of the past. In addition more festivals and film-oriented events should be encouraged and funded by governments at the local, state and federal levels in the country, by banks and by NGOs. However prudence should be given so that such events are not a photocopy of one another in the true “imitable Nigerian fashion”(Osofisan: Midnight Blackout, 2002) so that the popular bandwagon effect does not set in; it is common for others to follow and most often outrightly copy the lead of a successful example.
Furthermore, as Amaka Igwe-Isaac advised in an interview with the Vanguard Newspaper, the issue of distribution should been serious considerations. According to her:“The people who are now doing the marketing are now at the limit of their abilities. They are now holding unto the old movies with so much energy. We will praise them for doing that but it is no longer adequate because the market is inadequate.”
It is expedient that the government help out with the distribution of film or aid it by offering much needed assistance to filmmakers as in the case of South Africa where the Film Resource Unit, a public liability company was basically created to help blacks marginalised over the years by the whites, distribute their works. The government can provide some of its offices across the nation for this purpose such as post office and library as sales outlets for producers to market their works. Also there should be a regulation as to the number of films to be released in a month and indeed in a year. Each marketer should have his slot. Perhaps the National Producers’ Guild and the Union of Marketers and Distributors can help with this bit. An idea was conceived in 2002 by some members that video-films should be released once a month, on the first Monday in the month but this was met with stiff resistance by the producers themselves who felt that restricting the release would not work while the marketers insisted that that was the only way sanity would prevail in the industry. So instead of the weekly release, monthly release was decreed. But because each producer wanted to come out at the earliest possible date, there was a deluge. In one day, about 40 titles came into the market. The least being between 30 and 35.Hence the audience is presented with so much films that he cannot buy all, let alone watch everything and because of this torrent the video club are springing everyday, pirating works and feeding very fat on the sweat of producers. In a newspaper report on the Nigerian film industry published in Thisday Newspaper of Tuesday, November 16, 2004; a major film producer was quoted as saying "The film industry by the end of1998 had become a rendezvous of jokers. Films were being produced enmasse. There was no control and it was becoming increasingly difficult to say which film was good and which was not."
Likewise the government should help the industry to fight piracy. Piracy is a major problem to Nollywood’s continued existence because most films do not make much profit, and the little profit that is gathered end up in the wrong hands, also piracy aggravates the problem of low production quality of Nollywood films. Helen Muchimba asserts that “piracy is a problem …most of the tapes that have enters Zambia comes from Tanzania.” (BBC Focus on Africa Magazine). The already low quality films are transferred from tape-to-tape causing further poor quality pictures and sounds. This is because every time a work is dubbed, it drops in quality; hence very highly quality tapes or discs are used for Mastering works because it is natural for quality drops to occur during dubbing / mass production.
Moreover, the government should place higher import tax on foreign films to protect the local industry.
Higher production values should be ensured with better equipment, better acting from more professional actors, fancier sets, special effects, better shot composition, and storyboarding of movie screenplay should be introduced. Hollywood that was not storyboarded. Storyboarding help the cinematographer to compose the eventual film shots better, having a base to work with. Relatively higher production values will make it easier to export Nollywood works which will lead to more profit for producers.
Accordingly, there is also a need to educate and enlighten the controllers of the industry (the Big boys of Alaba, Idumota, Upper Iweka and Pound Roads: the film marketers) on the need to emphasize quality in the video-films from Nollywood. They should stop the “you either shoot it five (5) days or you receive boots” system and encourage quality, for the industry to fulfil its destiny. Film is first an art before it is a business, if the art is poor then the business would fail.
This recommendation will be incomplete without mentioning the fact that there is the need to pay attention to professional training for directors, actors, cinematographers and crew. A lot of the filmmakers are not properly educated in the art and science of filmmaking and this in no small measure affects the quality of films and works they produce. Education is important and it needed so badly in Nollywood, so that producers and director can do better projects than they have already done, skills in screenplay, cinematography, acting and general film aesthetics must be taken. There are a couple of places in the country where such trainings can be received – Independent Television Producers Association of Nigeria (ITPAN) Training School in Gbagada, Lagos, Pencils Theatre and Film Institute (PEFTI) in Oshodi, Lagos, the Nigerian Film Institute in Jos.
Lastly, for those like Sandra Mbanefo Obiago, documentary filmmakers that have postulatedthat the way for the industry to grow is to get funding and money from the European Union (EU) and the French Government. They should know that the industry can sustain itself on its own funding and from support within Nigeria, because if Nollywood should move into foreign funding it would have the same problems of the Francophone African Cinema.
The old adage, “He, who pays the piper dictates the tune,” would then apply and Nollywood would not be able to tell its story its own way and style because of the restriction that witch-hunt such funding. If Nigerian video film industry is funded by the EU or the French government it will have “to fit into the dominant paradigm of the avant-garde of European film at any given time”. However, Nollywood can seek partnership for the distribution of works like the Producers of THE AMAZING GRACE (Jeta Amata, 2006)did with the French government.
Internet/ Electronic resources
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Retrieved on May 31,2006.
“Behind Nollywood dazzling Mask ” 9 April 2005 Nollywood.net. Retrieved on 31
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“Graphics”. Encyclopædia Britannica Ready Reference 2005 CD-ROM.2004
Haynes, Jonathan, “Nollywood”- what’s in a name? The Guardian Newspaper, Sunday 25th August 2005.
Iwenjora Fred. Feb. 11, 2006. “Personality Interview: - Amaka Igwe, star film actress, writer, producer says: If you want me to tell you how I met my husband, then you then you don jam rock!” Vanguard Media Limited.
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Novia,Charles. 20 March,2005.“Does Dr.Balogun Know?-A Response to Ola Balogun ” Nollywood.net. retrieved on 31 May 2006 Nwagbo Nnenyelike. Friday, February 25, 2005. “Me act comedy? Never!”. Sun Publishing Limited
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retrieved on 31 May 2006 Osofisan Sola.Dec.15, 2005.00:09. “Yoruba Culture Is Scientific”- The Tunde Kelani Interview”
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BOOKS AND ESSAYS
Akinrinde, Julius Olutayo. 70375,The Stage and Screen: A Comparative Study of
Performance Techniques. Unpublished M.A Dissertation. Department of
Theatre Arts, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, February, 1998.p.28-38
Bordwell, David and Thompson, Kristin. Film Art: Introduction. 5th Ed. New York:
Ekwuasi, C. Hyginus. Creating the Screen Image: Visual Composition for
Television and film. Lagos: Kraft Books.1991.
Ekwuasi, C. Hyginus. The Television Film Documentary: A Production Resource
Book. Jos: National Film Institute,1996.
Ekwueme, Kenneth Martins. 73127.The Negative Influence of Nigerian Home
Videos/Films on the Youth- A Case study of Ritual, Outcast I and II
And the Prostitute. Unpublished M.A Dissertation. Department of
Theatre Arts, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, November, 2002
Itam, Rosemary A. 76070,Screenplay Project on Home Video and Film
Performance Techniques. Unpublished M.A Dissertation. Department of
Theatre Arts, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, April, 2002. p. 32-44
Johnson, E. Effiong. Playwriting: The Fundamentals. Lagos: Concept
Mgbejume, Onyero. Video Production Procedure. Ed. Hyginus Ekwuasi,
Mercy Sokomba and Onyero Mgbejume. NFC/UNESCO Workshop Project. Jos:
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Nweke, Mary-Anne Uchenna. 100845,Preference of Nigerian film audience.
Unpublished M.A Dissertation. Department of Theatre Arts,
University of Ibadan, Ibadan, June, 1995. p.30-37
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. Unpublished M.A Dissertation. Department of Theatre Arts,
University of Ibadan, Ibadan, October, 2002. p.7-38
The Cultural Policy of Nigeria, Lagos: Ministry of Arts and Culture,1991
Afolabi Adesanya. Opening address at the 6th ITPAN Lagos International Film
Forum tagged : “Story, story, what’s your story”. Held in Lagos from 6th-8th July,
Femi Odugbemi. Welcome address at the 6th ITPAN Lagos International Film
Forum tagged: “Story, story, what’s your story”.Held in Lagos from 6th-8th July,
The Synopsis of “The Amazing Grace” shared at the 6th ITPAN Lagos International Film Forum tagged: “Story, story, what’s your story”.Held in Lagos from 6th-8th July,2006.
Muyiwa Ademola Filmography
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The Guardian Newspaper, 23rd May, 2004
Ayorinde, Steve. “Nigerian Businessmen Invest N100m in Movies Monthly-
Yinka Ogundaisi, film producer” Saturday Punch 28 Aug.2004
Ayorinde, Steve. “NOLLYWOOD: Nigerians have to be very patient for its growth- Tade Ogidan” Saturday Punch 28 Aug.2004 James Knight and Katrina Manson. “Africa’s film industry in the doldrums” Business in Africa Magazine. March 2005.p.26-30 AMAKA IGWE-ISAAC FILMOGRAPHYCheckmate (1989)Rattle Snake I, II, III (1990-1992)Violated I and II (1994 and 1995)To Live Again (1994)Forever (1996)Apostle Kasali (2004)New Wife (2006)Fuji House of Commotion (2000-till date)Solitaire (2006)A Barber’s Wisdom (Celluloid) MNET New Dimension MUYIWA ADEMOLA FILMOGRAPHY
Ori (2004 )
Ogo Osupa I and II (2003)
Òrisa Oke (2003)
Iyonu Olorun (2003)
Jide Jamal (JJ) (2004)
Ile I and II (2005)
TUNDE KELANI’S FILMOGRAPHY
Oluwa Nile (feature) -1993
Ayo Ni Mo Fe (feature) – 1994
Koseegbe (feature) – 1995
O Le Ku (feature) – 1997
A Place Called Home 16mm – 1997
The White Handkerchief 16mm – 1998
Twins of the Rain Forest-16mm – 1997
Saworoide (feature) 1999
Thunderbolt (feature) – 2001
A Barber’s Wisdom 35mm Celluloid -2002
Agogo-eewo (feature) 2002
The Campus Queen 2004
Adenugba, Olushola Oladele. 98696 Personal Interview with Tunde Kelani at Mainframe
Production Office, 28, Seinde Callisto Crescent, Charity B/stop ,
Oshodi ,Lagos. 8.00am-11.00am. Saturday 15th July,2006.
Adenugba, Olushola Oladele. 98696 Personal Interview with Muyiwa Ademola at
His residence in Ashi Area, Ibadan. 12.00pm-4.00pm. Sunday 16th July,2006.
Adenugba, Olushola Oladele. 98696 Personal Interview with Nath( Amaka’s Staff) at her office
on Salvation Road, Opebi, Ikeja. 2.30pm-3.10pm,Tues.6th Sept.2006.