Tuesday, June 6, 2017

The Best Nigerian Films from 1970 - 2016

Francis Oladele.

The Best Nigerian Films from 1970 - 2016

In the history of Nigerian cinema from when I started going to the movie theatres in 1970 (following my great father Sunday Eke, who loved movies) to date, I have not seen up to 20 Nigerian films that I can call great movies.

Francis Oladele produced "Kongi's Harvest" in 1970, directed by the African American filmmaker, Ossie Davis with the screenplay by Wole Soyinka adapted from his 1965 play of the same title. Oladele also produced "Bullfrog in the Sun" of 1972, the film adaptation of the great Chinua Achebe's two classic novels, "Things Fall Apart" and "No Longer at Ease" directed by Hansjürgen Pohland of Germany whom I contacted in 2012, before he passed away on May 17, 2014 in Mandelieu-la-Napoule (Alpes-Maritimes, France).

He was a member of the jury at the Berlin International Film Festival in 1965. Oladele passed away on Monday, June 22, 2015.
The following are Pohland's emails.
Dear Michael Chima,

yes,  My name is Hansjuergen , but also called JASON POHLAND.

I directeted this movie.

But I myself are looking for a print of the movie.

Where is Francis OLADELE now?

If you find one, please inform  me, so we can secure the material.

Also if you find posters etc.

Good to have contact with you.


Dear Michael Chima,

please give my best regards and wishes for his birthday to Francis:

If you get hold of a print try to make a file and send it to me.

The BERLIN FILM FESTIVAL has strong interest to show the film during

its festival.

Thank you for all the informations you wrote, very interesting.

Hope to see you in the future.

Warmest regards


Scenes from "Bullfrog in the Sun".

Dr. Ola Balogun, Nigeria's greatest filmmaker since 1970 to date, directed the first Igbo language film, "Amadi" in 1975 and the Yoruba language film, "Ajani Ogun" in 1976.

Ossie Davis directed "Countdown at Kusini" in 1976, produced by Ladi Ladebo.
"Bisi Daughter of the River" in 1977 directed by Joseph Abiodun Babajide, aka "Jab Adu" and produced by Ladi Ladebo is one of the best films in the Nigerian film industry.

Ola Balogun directed "Ija Ominira" in 1978 for Adeyemi Afolayan, popularly known as "Ade Love".

Chief Hubert Ogunde, the greatest dramatist in the history of Nigerian drama produced a great film, "Aiye" in 1980 directed by Ola Balogun who directed his own war film, " Cry Freedom" in 1981.

Adeyemi Afolayan's "Kadara" of 1980 and "Taxi Driver" of 1983 are classics.

Afolabi Adesanya's "Vigilante" of 1988 and "Ose Sango" of 1991 are fantastic films. Ladi Ladebo´s "Pariah" of 1994 is also worthy of note.

The emergence of the home videos of Kannywood and Nollywood in the 1990s have not given us as much great movies as the Nigerian films of the 1970s and 1980s.
Living in Bondage 1" of 1992 directed by Chris Obi Rapu and produced by Okechukwu Ogunjiofor still remains the greatest Igbo movie, followed by "Living in Bondage 2" in 1993 directed by Chika Christian Onu, PhD.

Majority of the movies in Kannywood and Nollywood are best defined as teleplays. Many of them have been hurriedly produced with poor researches, weak plots and amateurish cinematography.

The great Nigerian filmmaker and Nigeria's best Director of Photography, Tunde Kelani is not a Nollywood filmmaker and should not be classified or mistaken for one. His "Ti Oluwa Nile 1-3", of 1993 and "Koseegbe" of 1995 are timeless masterpieces of Nigerian filmmaking. Followed by "O Le Ku" of 1997, "Saworoide" of 1999, "Thunderbolt: Magun" of 2001, "Agogo Eewo" of 2002, "Abeni" of 2006 and "Maami"of 2011.

Kunle Afolayan, the son of Adeyemi Afolayan has followed the golden footsteps of his father as a fantastic filmmaker whose " Irapada " of 2006, "The Figurine: Araromire" of 2009 and "October 1" of 2014 are masterpieces of modern filmmaking.

A scene in Kingsley Ogoro's "The Return".

Simisola Opeoluwa's "Battle of Love" of 2002 is a very good film. The film was produced by Kingsley Ogoro. Kingsley Ogoro's "The Return" of 2003 is a great movie.

Izu Ojukwu, one of the best directors in Nollywood directed "Across the Niger" of 2004, produced by Kingsley Ogoro and "76'" of 2016 produced by Adonaijah Owiriwa.  Jeta Amata's "The Amazing Grace" of 2006 and "Black November" of 2011 are great films.  Chineze Anyaene's " Ijé: The Journey" of 2012 is a fantastic Nollywood film. And Biyi Bandele's "Half of a Yellow Sun" of 2013 based on Chimamanda  Ngozi-Adichie's historical fiction on the Biafran war is a great film.

Teco Benson, Kenneth Gyang, Steve Gukas, Lancelot Imasuen and other Nollywood filmmakers have done some good movies.

Writing on the best Nigerian films is challenging, because of insufficient documents on some of the films without extant copies or good archival sources. And the so called guilds don't have libraries for the records of the movies of their members. There is an urgent need for a national library or museum for Nollywood and Kannywood to preserve the achievements of all the practitioners and stakeholders in the Nigerian film industry.

~ By Michael Chima Ekenyerengozi | IndieWire http://www.indiewire.com/author/michael-chima-ekenyerengozi.

©2017. Ekenyerengozi Michael Chima. All rights reserved. No copying, duplication or reproduction without the authorization from the author and publisher.

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