When we think of Nigeria, one of the features that don’t immediately come to mind is its film industry. However, Nollywood (the Nigerian Film Industry) is, according to the UN, the second highest employer today, only behind agriculture. However, Nollywood isn’t just beneficial for the Nigerian economy. Nollywood is much more significant, socially and politically.
In Lagos, the capital of Nigeria, there is two principal areas where audiences consume Nollywood films: the “Street Corner” and the “Video Parlour”. “Street corner” audiences are, according to Okome (2007), “a special audience who congregate on the streets” to consume films. Street corners are a more casual way in which audiences consume Nollywood films. Street corners are a prime opportunity for public unity, in a corrupted and troubled country. In addition to the “Street corner”, the “Video Parlour” also provides public unity, but also acts as a platform for citizens to discuss themes explored in the film being consumed, and how the film relates to Nigeria’s everyday problems. The “Video Parlour” is a more concentrated way for the public to consume Nollywood films, as they often engage in discussion after the film is shown.
The “Video Palour” is essential to the idea that Nollywood acts as a virtual mirror. A majority of the films, with very low budgets, produced in Nigeria reflect on real-life problems and situations, which occur in Nigerian society. For example, the film “Domitilla” described in detail by Okome (2007), revolves around a prostitute who becomes entangled with a politician’s death. Ideas of corruption and the role of women are thoroughly explored and provoke audiences to discuss and compare the film’s characters and plot to their past experiences. “Domitilla” is just one of many films which provides evidence that Nollywood acts as a virtual mirror.
Moudio, R 2013, Nigeria’s film industry: a potential gold mine, United Nations, viewed 24th August 2014, http://www.un.org/africarenewal/magazine/may-2013/nigeria%E2%80%99s-film-industry-potential-gold-mine
Okome, O 2007, ‘Nollywood: Spectatorship, Audience and the Sites of Consumption’, Postcolonial Text, vol.3, no. 2, pp. 6-7.