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NARRATIVE TECHNIQUES IN NIGERIAN VIDEO FILMS: A STUDY OF SUICIDE MISSION, IGODO, MISSION TO NOWHERE AND DOG OF WAR BY OKWUOWULU

CHARLES G2008/MA/TA/FA/092 A MASTER DEGREE THESIS SUBMITTED TO THE SCHOOL OF GRADUATE STUDIES UNIVERSITY OF PORT HARCOURT

IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE AWARD OF M.A DEGREE IN THEATRE ARTS (FILM STUDIES)

DEPARTMENT OF THEATRE ARTS FACULTY OF HUMANITIES UNIVERSITY OF PORT HARCOURT, RIVERS STATE, NIGERIA JULY 2011 DEDICATION … and as I went into the bush in search of firewood His benevolent spirits followed me with a pot of water To the benevolent spirits … a child of expedition is born To my parents, Dr. and Mrs. P.A. Okwuowulu who hoped … the farm is bigger than the barn To my wife Chinwe, who believed … the stream will never dry To my unborn child in the womb … “ground don level” To Gods who sent the benevolent spirits … my expedition just began

ACKNOWLEDMENTS I wish to acknowledge the immense contributions of my Head of Departm ent and amiable supervisor, Dr. I. C. Ohiri who made my dream come true. Also hi ghly recognized are my fathers in the academia, especially Professor Femi Shaka,

who exposed me to film studies and whose contributions to film studies, greatly influenced this work, I thank him for the fatherly role he plays in my life. I thank Norbert Oyibo Eze whose great academic assistance in my undergraduate days at the University of Nigeria Nsukka led the foundation to this work. I thank hi m for his keen interest in my M.A Programme. I remain very grateful to Chinonye who showed commitment to typing this work. I also acknowledge my siblings who ca ll in once in a while to ask, “How far?,” My friends, course mates and colleagues: U ncle Remi, Emeka Ofora, Uche Ajiwe, Omeife Jide Ofor, Bosa Mama, Pastor Godwin, Nwokedi Nwa Nwokedi, Nk, Aris Baba, Felix, Ogaranya, Radikality, Jp, Oliver and others. I am grateful my parents Dr. and Mrs. P.A. Okwuowulu and finally Chinw e my wife. I thank you all for being there. It would not have been possible with out you as you contributed a lot to what I am today. I vouch that I will never l et you down. ABSTRACT The poor narrative techniques of the Nigerian video films have led to the crises of meaning in video film production. Many, who rush into production, do not hav e the basic narrative skills that are required. They apply stage narrative techn iques to film production. This has hampered the semiotic narrative in video film productions. This work examines narrative techniques in Nollywood films and sug gests how its stagy narrative techniques and their monotonous application can be diversified through filmic concepts like semiotics. To achieve this, the study examines scholarly works on narrative techniques and relates them to the analysi s of select Nigeria video films. The under-exploration of the full range of came ra language which is projected as the major challenge to narrative technique jus tifies this research. Robert Scholes’ theory of narrative provides the theoretical formular for the research work. This study concludes that though narrative techniques in Nigerian films are influenced by theatrical traditions, the recent productions are being influ enced by Western tradition and have adopted filmic narrative techniques. The fil mic motifs seen in Mission to Nowhere and Dog of War, which were produced in 199 7 and 1998 respectively, assert the filmic advancement of narrative techniques o f Nigerian video films. Thus if more filmic motifs are applied to the Nigerian n arrative concept, Nollywood productions will become filmic rather than stagy. Th is will thus improve the quality of video film productions in Nigeria.

TABLE OF CONTENTS CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION 1.1 1 1.2 5 1.3 1.4 8 1.5 8 1.6 9 1.7 9 CHAPTER TWO LITERATURE REVIEW 2.1 Introduction 11 Research Methodology Definition of Terms Scope of the Study 1 Background to the Study Statement of the Problem Aims and objectives of the Study Justification of the Study 7

11 2.2 A Critical and Historic Review of Video Film in Nigeria CHAPTER THREE NARRATIVE TECHNIQUES IN NIGERIAN VIDEO FILMS 3.1 3.2 3.2 3.3 54 3.4 8 3.5 Introduction The Theory of Narrative Narrative Techniques in Nigerian Video Films Auteur System in Nollywood Genre Perspective in Nollywood Film Semiotics 60 43

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CHAPTER FOUR A CRITICAL ANALYSIS OF NARRATIVE TECHNIQUES IN SELECT NIGERIAN VIDEO FILMS 72 4.1. Synopsis of Igodo 73 4.1.1 A critical Analysis of Narrative Technique in Igodo 4.2 Synopsis of Suicide Mission 4.2.1 A Critical Analysis of Narrative Technique in Suicide Mission 82 4.3. Synopsis of Mission to no Where 4.3.1 A Critical Analysis of Narrative Technique in Mission to Nowhere 85 4.4 Synopsis of Dog of War 5 4.4.1 A Critical Analysis of Narrative Technique in Dog of War 87 CHAPTER FIVE CONCLUSION 93 CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION 1.1 Background to the Study The narrative passion of Africans accounts for their preservation of mythologica l and legendary history through transferred precepts before the coming of the Wh iteman. Africans celebrated stories of epoch events and histories under full moo n nights, rituals, festivals and religious activities. They also expressed thems elves through various means like dance, craft and motifs. With the arrival of Eu ropean education, literature mirrored these art forms through different techniqu es such as; the first person, second person, third person narrative techniques a nd the omniscient voice. The advent of film crystallized the narrative art of Africans with its conventio nal nature whereby the older generation narrated to the younger generation throu

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The camera remained on a fixed position all through the movie a nd this caused impediments in the channels of communication. while a film author (director) writes with the camera. films as a new medium of African expression posed some challenges and complexities in its narrative techniques. The techniques lay in the dramatic content of the film. must communicate effectively for the audience to understand very well. Beyond that. Nollywood films have failed to harness these dramatic and technical forms f or effective communication. h e established forever a rigid technique that forces an audience to look at what the director wants them to see. p. 159). hence these were describe d as “Silent films”. This is because the ‘dramatic con tents of a film make the immediate importance to the viewer before the technique’ (Casty. visual colour and transitional method s are not effective. The picture of the early films was black and white and had no audio.gh flashback technique. Against this background. which involves the plot structure. sou nd/visual effects. and its execution by the crew members and technici ans. music and sound effects (nois e)” (2007. 1. Thus the visual components of film. Thus. the technical content. Effective marriage of the dramatic and the technical compon ents account for good narrative production. Unlike the stage director. Every dying . t here is a desert gap. Between the script and the screen. This is bec ause the technical activities that accompany film narrative are alien to Africa. medium shots and t he invention of image orthicon cameras which have superior colour qualities. The ability of film to communicate effectively lies on the efficient mani pulation of its artistic and technical components. actors and crew members which he manipulates. p. therefore. Christian Metz and other scholars have described cinema (film) as a language. the new film artistes migrated from the literary world and the live st age without much knowledge of these new narrative complexities. The Nollywood narrative pattern preferred literality to technica lity due to its stage influence. F ilm. the film director can instantly bring anything to the centre stage through the techniques of cutting and camera angle” (Bare. p. The conventional method of scene exposition through long shot to close up has be come a cliché in narrative technique. speech. who must carefully ba lance all elements.2 Statement of the Problem Narrative technique can be said to be a method and system through which film sto ry is communicated to the viewers. this study juxtaposes the Nollywo od narrative pattern in early phase of its inception represented in Suicide Miss ion (1998) and Igodo (1999) and its recent productions represented in Mission to Nowhere (2007) and Dogs of War (2008) to find out similarities and disparities in narrative techniques. The technological and artisti c revolution that characterized film since its inception was orchestrated by the quest for effective visual communication as an iconographic art. They narrate fil ms as literature and this has led to the crisis of meaning in Nollywood. Griffith introduced the close up. actors’ semiotic synchronization with other plastic narra tive patterns also forms a subject of discourse. In the dramatic content. which involves the medium for passing th e dramatic content of a film. editing cues/effects. 153). “When D. Beyond the camera as the director’s pen/voice. the compl exity of narrative technique in film is such that encompasses a wide range of ma terial and human resources. which invol ves camera language.W. Besides. 3). The se enabled films to communicate through the five channels of information which E kwuazi identifies as means through which information on screen gets to us via: “t he visual image. 2001. Effective communica tion in films became possible with the introduction of sound to films. This gives rise to stereotypical and archetypal inte rpretative nature of Nollywood films. T he complexity of film narrative transcends this convention. every pregnant gi rl must vomit or spit before the viewers know that she is pregnant. characterization and its interpret ation by actors. 1971. A literary author writes with his pen and paper which he o ften handles himself. print and other graphics. the movem ent of camera lens enabled different shots like the close up.

are left to the stroke of chance by the editor or light tech nician. To identify the challenges in the narrative techniques in Nollywood films. Every mad man must be excessively mad. which the guy readily provides. To review semiotics and proffer it as a solution for effective narrative tech niques in Nollywood. or the boy mistakenly steps on the girl or breaks the plate or glass cup in a restaurant. These works however examined narrative techn iques in different aspects of film production like costumes. Many research works have been done on the area of film narrative techniques. dissolve. Some shots on location are not motivated and therefore send wrong signal s on a particular character in a film. p. scale of the shots. sequences.3 Aims and Objectives of the Study 1. 5. Similarly. To analyze the narrative techniques of select Nigerian video films and to asses their levels. These intentions cues and human emotions will have more impact if represented more semiotically. To suggest new narrative perspectives in Nollywood films. high angle shots. arrested time (whereby time is either frozen or repeated) and time lapses (the cut. visual effects and particularly visual components. camera movemen ts. fade out.man must vomit a white substance before we know that he has finally died. p. On the technical content.5 Scope of the Study This research work examines narrative techniques in select Nigerian video films. Some Nollywood directors do not fully und erstand film narrative technique which Metz identifies as “Montage. 1. flexitron and the swish pan) is handled arbitrarily (2007. gives an in-d epth knowledge of its narrative techniques. 159). The plot structure of the chance for tw o lovers to meet will always be that the girl’s car is spoilt and she needs assist ance. Four Nigerian video films which are produced within the last fifteen years are studied to assess the level of narrat ive techniques in Nollywood. wipe. Every dramatic n arrative technique is always archetypal. flash forward. 1. which should depict the mood and tone of the scenes. an d other large systematic units…” in film production (1974. 3. Ekwua zi’s film time technique which is flashback. 1. To review works done by different scholars on narrative techniques of vi deo film production. This work advances the studies on narrative tech niques from a holistic perspective and suggests the contributions of film semiot ics towards a good film narrative technique. Similarly. most directors do not pay particular attention to the visual effects of film production technique. the colour and lighting. This study. Every drunk must stagger home. 4. fade. 171). 1.4 Justification of the Study Studies on Nollywood show that the use of poor narrative techniques poses a majo r problem. To identify auteur and genre systems as major influences of narrative techniq ues in Nigerian video films 6. apart from drawing attention to poor narrative techniques in Nollywood films proffers semiotics as a solution towards the diversification of narrative techniques in Nollywood. relationship between the image and speech. A review of research works done in narrative system of Nollywood. which involve the connotative impl ication of the effects of dissolve.6 Research Methodology This work is in the area of film criticism and it would entail the application o f theories of narratives in the analysis of the selected film earmarked for the . de focus. It is only in the understanding and application of this visual narrati ve attributes through semiotics that a perfect narrative ideology in video film will be attained.refocus. 2. low angle shots and so on.

The crew member who directs shots in video films. Onookome Okome give his torical insight and provides the formula for understanding and further research on narrative techniques in the Nigerian film industry popularly called Nollywood . It is normally done in a synergy as they appear and disappear. Femi Shaka.7. Works of Hygynus Ekwuazi.1 Introduction So much works have been done on the evolution of Nollywood’s narrative system. 1. and to show . Shaka affirms that these Spanish and English merchants exhibited their films re gularly to fee-paying audience at Glover Memorial hall Lagos (2002. Okome and Haynes’ works. Thoug h these films were silent films and had no audio.1: Montage: This is the visual arrangement of different still photographs.3: Fade in and Out: This means that the object on screen will go off comple tely to black and gradually come in from black to the object of vision. A critical study of these works identified Nollywood’s problems as poor narrativ e technique as seen in most of Shaka. it was sustained for a good nu mber of years and the commercial exhibitors used it effectively to launder the i mage of the American government against Germany. It is co nnotatively used to depict a long time lapse or to indicate the end of a sequenc e. Ohiri notes tha t.4: Dissolve: This is the act of the object on screen coming up as the other goes off. Balba and company was orchestrate d by Herbert Macaulay (Ohiri. T he exhibition which was led by a Spanish firm. 1. He sometimes carries the camera and takes th e shots himself. Innocent Ohiri’s work also provides the evolution account of Nigerian video film . p.7. The first film that was screened in Nigeria was in August 1903 at the Glover Memorial Hall Lagos. “The objective of bringing in films includes to convince colonies. 1.study. The birth of Nollywood lea ns on the activities of entrepreneurial film merchants. This study takes a c ritical examination of these scholarly works with the view of knowing the extent of work done on the subject area.11). Ekwuazi.2: Cut: It is a shot description that requires getting from one camera to an other in an action that is continuous in time. 1.7. It is a technical term used to stop the camera from recordi ng a dramatic content of a particular film. It is also used to move from one scene to the other. This study examines different events that characterized the evolution of video film i ndustry in Nigeria which is today known as Nollywood.5: D. It pr ojects the concept that Nollywood’s narrative pattern in the early phase of its in ception had stagy narrative influences which were later diffused by Western ideo logies at the later phase.P: Director of Photography.8 Summary This chapter provides the platform for further study in the research area. CHAPTER TWO LITERATURE REVIEW 2. producers and the reacti on of the motion picture audience in Nigeria over the years. 2. Citing Balogun. 2002. Jonathan Haynes.O.7. This chall enge of poor narrative techniques identified by these scholars provokes further research in the subject area on ways it can be ameliorated. It also traces how Africans embraced technological in ventions to actualize effective narrative techniques. g raphics and dramatic contents to achieve a unified aesthetic motion pictorial se quence.7.2 A Critical Review of Video Film in Nigeria The history of video film in Nigeria is influenced by a number of factors. 1. 53). Thi s chapter reviews these works with the view to providing a concise historical ac count of film and video film in Nigeria and examining their narrative techniques . 1. p.7 Definition of Terms 1.

12). the director’s identity and country of origin could have affected the Nigerian motifs in the film. p. in 1975. Meanwhile. William sellers. a chief health o fficer of federal department of health then also used the film to show the effor ts of the cooperation in eliminating the plague. Some other Nigerians who studied film production in Europe and North America such as Ola B alogun. However.14). th eatrical traditions and movements were already very strong in the west with its peculiar production and star systems. Sanya Dosumu. the Ibrahim Babangida’s Structural Adjustment Program (SAP) affected film making in Nigeria. p. 2002. pp. In 1985. Citing Hay nes.A Fajemisin. p. before these experimentations in feature film.11-12). Many scholars consider Amadi as the first Nigerian feature film not because it w as shot in indigenous language but because the director Ola Balogun is a Nigeria n. Nigeria Video Films” and Femi Shaka’s “Hi story. some Nigerians such as Adamu Halilu. The same criticism was raised in Son of Africa (1971) and G olden Women (1971) which were sponsored by a Lebanese production house. Jaiyesimi ( 1979) Aaiye (1979) Aropin N’tenia (1982) and Ayanmo. For Adeyemi Folayan (Ade love films) he directed Ija Omin ira (1982) and kadara/Destiny (1982). Kongi’s Harvest generated a lot of debate amongst scholars on its attribute a s the first Nigeria feature film. 13). 2002. 2002. p. pp. Shaka’s article “Rethinking the Nigerian Video Film Industry. Ossie Dav ies.54-55). Genres and Text of the Emergent Video Film Industry in Nigeria”. p. all of which were Herbert Ogu nde’s stage productions. p. Static c amera positions which characterized these productions buttress this fact. Though this stagy characteristics is prominent in the works of some film scholars such as Hyginus Ekwazi’s Film Nigeria. 2002. The devaluation of the Naira which was occasioned by SAP made the production cost of films high to be accommodated by the producers (Shaka. The success and the impact of t he film led to the adoption of film as an instructional material by the colonial government (Shaka. On arrival. 2 002. Francis Oladele. 12). They argued that though scripted by Wole Soyin ka. Adesanya accounts that it was the quest to produce feature film that is devoid of colonial cultural domination that gave rise to the indigenous feature film productions. Usen affirms that most Nigerian filmmakers came from the theatre belt of th e country which is the southwest. Willam Sellers’ initiated the production of the film which showed that rats we re responsible and the carrier of the disease. 21). Jonathan Hayn es and Onookome Okome’s “Evolving Popular Media. Haynes and Okome posit that they were the stronge st element in the twenty-year span of Nigerian film production (1997.A Otigba and Mala m Yakubu Aina were sent for film training in the film training school. (1997. 73) Kongi’s Harvest. Technologi cal Fascination and the Domestication Game.54). they resorted to the production of documentary films. directed by the African-American. Jab Adu equally returned to the country and started feature film production in the mid 1970s (Shaka. The fact that auteur theory positions the director as the author of a film ju stifies this claim. A. Ime Usen’s Master’s Degree thesis a t University of Port Harcourt explains this stagy narrative characteristic of Ni gerian video film vividly. Ol a Balogun being instrumental to the smooth transition of Yoruba stage to films p roductions directed the following films for the cross over business. The colonial instructional films continued between 1929 and 1946. He affirms that the use of the video camera to produce film was occasioned by the fascination of the ne w modern technology (video camera) and its creative application to solving probl . Eddy Ugbomah. Feature film productions leaned on these e xisting theatrical structures. 2002. Amadi.the outside world the excellent work being done in heathen parts under the aegis of union jack” (2002. the first Nigerian film was produ ced in 1970 by Calpenny Nigeria Ltd. Accra Gha na. an Igbo film was produced by Afro Cult Foundation Limited and d irected by Ola Balogun (Shaka.” provides a context for the better und erstanding of the film to video film transition process. pp. p. J. However. Theatre practitioners having attain fame in th eatre practice make use of theatrical techniques to film (2004. The colonial government’s involvement in film producti on began in 1929 as a result of an epidemic outbreak within the Lagos protectora te. Ohiri. He equally directed Orun Mooru and Mosebol atan(1984/85) for Moses Olaiya (Shaka. Films produced at this period were very stagy as the camera served only as reco rdable equipment without camera narrative voice. 12-13.

57) An epoch was made in 1992 with the production of the video film Living i n Bondage by Kenneth Nnebue’s Company. Seeing the money made and unhappy with the pittance being paid. an Igbo producer known as Solomon Eze. Before video film production. 1997. Kenneth Nnebue. the term vide o camera entered the vocabulary of the country in 1970. The ritual videos attracted a lot of public outcry … These were followed by Christian evangelical video films” (Shaka. p. Gbenga Adewusi and Muyi Aromire . This was enabled by the activities of Igbo electronics merchants and importers who ply Asian routes for business.25) By the late 1980s. p. Adebayo Salami.000 to millions of nai ra (1997. p. Most of the operators of this video camera worked in state television stations and other audiovisual public companies. a Yoruba video fil m which he produced for the late Sola Ogunsola with production cost which was no t up to N2. many block busters h ave emerged in the industry. the Fed eral Government of Nigeria enhanced the articulation of the Nigerian film policy and a film institute was established in Jos. 2002. Nek Video Links and directed by Vic Mordi. video cameras were used by wealthy men in the soc iety to record and document special occasions. p. Glamour Girls I & II (1994). an Igbo electronics dealer was said to have rak ed hundreds of thousands in the production of Aje Ni Iya Mi. it not only provided the train ed personnel.P) (Shaka. This is because. To firmly establish film in Nigeria. Adesanya asserts that the quest by despe rate producers to remain in motion picture business and the quest for profession alism and aesthetics increased video film budget from N50.44). Kenneth Nnebue released an English video film. In a desire to reach a wider audien ce. 2007. The commercial success of video films gave rise to genre related productions. p. Some television drama series were also shot on video came ra during this period. the Onyemechi Series and the Ihe Ne Eme Na s eries. 2003.23). Circle of Doom I & II (Okechu kwu Ogunjiofor. but also popularized video home system (VHS).41). he affirmed that the introduction o f the equipment for video film production was orchestrated by Babangida’s governme nt Structural Adjustment Programme (S. (Ohiri. Many scholars observe th at its greatest problem is its poor production and narrative techniques. p. Haynes and Okome confirm ed that the retrenched technicians from state television stations through SAP in itiative. Nevertheless. “First it was rituals. Shaka recalls th at these cameras were earlier used to replicate life without emphasis on the nar rative voice of the camera. Citing Uge. an Igbo video film. However. p. Sharing the same view with Haynes. His stories which were in series w ere produced.16-17) However.24). 1997. the Ola Nma Series. etc.000. its playback medium which would later serve as a medium for watching these video films. Documentary activities by videographers helped the f ilm-to-video transition process. Many more video film genr es had since emerged from the industry. 1993) was also shot in Igbo. Others attribute it to its poor marketing structure. popularly kn own as Willy-willy. He produced such titles as Och oifekwu. Hot Cash. (2002. p.15) On a similar note. Adeze. there were simultaneous experimental video film produ ctions in both the western and southern Nigeria. According to Shaka. Haynes and Okome cited Ayorinde and Okafo r to have opined that Yoruba travelling theatre artists began video film product ion in 1988 because of its cheap production cost within the economic constraint as at then (Haynes and Okome. Prominent amongst them were Jagua. the industry has attracted a lot of criticism. Yoruba artists like Jide Kosoko. p.18).44) . Jezebel I & II.ems (2003. 2002.137). who adopted the sc reen name of Mike Orihedinma began to emerge. directed and acted by Mike himself. p. soon rented a U-matic video camera and started their own productions (Haynes a nd Okome. followed by epics. Scholars agree that the commercial success of this video film firmly established the video film industry in Nigeria and attracted a deluge of video camera produ cers.A. Evil Passion and Nneka The Pre tty Serpent I & II emerged (Shaka. the Igbo business men unders tood video film production business very well and opened way for retail sale of video cassettes. After Living in Bondage. Other films such as Taboo I & II. Zebrudaya. (2003. OJ Production’s Igodo (1999) directed by Andy Amenech . 2007. also provided the needed labour necessary for film-to-video transition al process (Haynes and Okome. Shaka affirms that between 1987 and 1988. Citing Olaoye. p.

2008a. p. he identifies the problems of Nollywood as theme-driven and recommends a techn ique driven Nollywood as the way out. This is because it discourages auteur directing system which helps to so lidify the existing structure. The imp ortance of production and narrative technique in film production cannot be over emphasized.i was widely received by the audience. It’s about the third largest in the world after Hollywood and B ollywood. what is paramount among the different views shared by these scholars is that Nollywood has come to stay. and the new newspaper-format Cinema tters (1997. he identifies its pr oblem to be that of content and form and advocates intellectualization of our pr oductions as exemplified in Akpakaland. p. However. “… it is the star that people most of the time w ant to watch and not the story” (Onyerionwu. Nigeria Television Authority’s TV guide. and television scripts. the identifi cation of Nollywood’s problem by Ukala as lack of form can be attributed to his st rong theatrical background. not the theme makes the stor y” (Onyerionwu. 2008c. Okome in an interview with Onyerionwu posits that ‘… Nolly wood has become a global phenomenon. 2008d. . an intellectual play text that he turned into a film. Howeve r. technique is not given much attention as Ekwuazi emphasized. which helped to crystallize the industry. In his interview with Onyerionwu. Jonathan Haynes and Onookome Okome affirm that There is a concerted effort to build a star system of actors wit h name recognition whose presence (as in Hollywood) will guarantee investment in the project. It is a global phenomenon because the outside is beginning to pay attention to it (Ony erionwu. Film journals have sprouted out in Nollywood where scholars shared views about N ollywood.36). radio and television advertisement. film’s communicative channel through the screen medium r equires technique. Many scholars have in one way or the other reviewed Nigerian Video Films. the technique. structures and stars. While theatre concen trates on dramatic forms. the Nigeria film Corporation’s film and video. Ekwuazi as a foremost film scholar identi fies what is evidently lacking in film production process. Many of the current stars made their reputations on television. pp. “First. but because they underst ood the dramatic force of the camera’s angle approach (Bare. and other magazine dedicated specifically to videos such as the short-lived Starfilms and Nigeria Videos. the Censors Board’s The Classifier. Many Nigerian youths who could have been jobless today are well employ ed in the movie industry” (Onyerionwu. Because of the literary background of producers in th e industry. Of course. p. The great directors of t he silent pictures Eisenstein von Sternberg and Griffith told their stories visu ally. Ekwuazi’s analysis in an interview with Onyerionwu equates Nollywood with the Nigerian economy that one may wonder why it has not collapsed. p. the shows on Lagos television authority devoted to videos. However. socially. 2000. not only because sound had not yet come into use. however Only Ekwuazi mentioned production and narrative techniq ue as one of its problems. His analysis is theatre biased. Ezechi Onyerionwu who is the editor and publisher of Film Nigeria inte rviewed some scholars in related disciplines who gave insights about Nollywood.12). star system enables story prediction th rough archetypal casting. Shaka affirmed Haynes and Okome’s opinion in Nol lywood’s star system and posits that. the writer usually concentrate s on telling the story through the characters with little regard to the visual p owers of the camera as an adjunct to telling the story. Though these scholars gave outstanding analysis of Nollywood in Film Nigeria.6). However. Bare states that In today’s motion pictures.10). “What does distinguish the mediocre from the sublime is not theme but technique. I must commend the Nigeria film industry because it is doin g a lot. this needs to be qualified. Nollywood has grown rapidly from its landmark incept ion in 1992 to gain international recognition. this study dis covers that this star system.159). Ukala also shared his view on Nollywood in an interview wi th Onyerionwu. 29-30). However. later br oke it. celebrity magazines. bu t an arena of publicity based on videos themselves is being created through vehi cles such as billboards. p. The emerging industry has develop ed its peculiar production techniques. However . Osuofia in London (2003) directed and pro duced by Kingsley Ogoro popularized Nollywood to the international sphere. 2008b. Secondly.

he gives little attention to narrative technique which he treats in a single paragraph attributing video fil m production technique to be inferior to celluloid (1997. the fact remains tha t certain “uncinematic” and theatrical tendencies. he traces the video documentary . They equally posit that narrative system of Nig erian video film is influenced by television drama which was the first to embrac e video camera as a production machine. Affirming that video produ ction started on a desperate desire by producers to remain in the motion picture business in the face of economic distress of SAP. sprawling. It will thus take a good director to give their works proper filmic interpr etation. Nevertheless. Furthermore. Jezebel and Nneka the Pretty Serpent. He equally proposes the theory of third cinema as a platform for film studies. uninteresting mode of acting.4-34). According to them The video’s subplot-filled.13-20). Nigerian Video Films featured ar ticles that uphold this stage narrative influence on film. 2008a. He recalls that he designed the course and structured the academic calendar for both the professional and degree programme s.Professional Film script writers in Nollywood having come from theatrical and li terary background thus centre their stories on theme and form rather than techni que.437). like longer action than necessary . ‘Evo lving Popular Media. he identifies the poor marketing struc ture as the major problem in the video film industry. A film scholar like Ekwuazi. Haynes and Okome’s edited anthology. h ave continued to make home video productions very unrealistic (2005. Though he mentions poor na rrative structure as one of its problems. Furthermore. was wri tten in 1987. In their article. 36). He concludes that he made the courses to be responding to the demands of tech nology and challenges of the market (Onyerionwu. the scholars. Nigerian Video Film’. p. Genre and Text of Emergent Vide o Film Industry in Nigeria” provide a sound evolution account of film and video fi lm in Nigeria. Ekwuazi opines that film narra tive is greatly influenced by stage technique in its approach to dramatic verbos ity and its use of cameras as a photographic machine which serves as the theatri cal fourth wall.” in Duro Oni edited Nigerian theatre journ al. p. The theory which was propounded by Med Hondo and Ouse mene Sembene schools will be further analyzed in this work in relation to Shaka’s definition of African film (1987. Explaining the n otion of stage influence on narrative techniques. In “African video film today”. pp. Ekwuazi explains these stagy in fluences on film very well. The stagy influence of video film narrative technique is typified in his critical reading of Living in Bondage. Femi Shaka’s articles “Rethinking the Nigerian video film industry technological f ascination and the domestication game” and “History. the success of the video film industry in Nigeria has attra cted scholarship to Nollywood. p. and so on. His first book on Nigerian film titled Film in Nigeria. arguments and critical comments. On a similar note.26) Ogunsuyi equally affirms in his article “The Nigeria home video. who was the former M anaging Director of the Nigerian Film Institute asserts that the activities of N FI will surely turn Nollywood around. bogus display of individual talent. rhizomatic plot structures have affinities with oral narrative patterns and with indigenous conceptions of fate and destiny . pp. about the time there were simultaneous experimentations in video f ilms in the western and eastern part of Nigeria. that Sometimes the audience may just not be too bothered about this artistic anomaly because the stories they tell appeal to them. (1997. Afolabi-Adesanya whose article “From Film to Video” featured in H aynes and Okome’s edited Nigerian Video Films also provides a historical knowledge of the transition from celluloid film to video film. Haynes and Okome give a h istorical account of the evolution of video film from celluloid film which was o rchestrated by the SAP economic problem and the survival strategy of the Yoruba and Igbo electronics merchants. The talky character and low-budget domestic settings of the vast majority of f ilms suggest the influence of soap opera. Circle of Doom.

it does not make it less African. Towards the Decolonization of African Literature written by Chinweizu. time and space. Another infl uence of television soaps which he recognizes is the superfluous use of theme mu sic in video films (2002. These are Med Hondo School and Ousmene Sembene School. In the article “History. Shaka analyzed the book. pp. Teshome Gabriel in his “Towards a critical theory of third cinema”. pp. cross cutting. Its essential quality e ntails the treatment of the camera as photographic equipment providing a window into the pro-filmic reality. he affirms that SAP orchestrated the c elluloid transition to video films. the close up shot. 1987. p. His observation of the under exploration of camera narrative complexities justifies this study which examines the practical ways of full exploration of camera narrative. While Med Hondo School argues that propaganda does not only reside in content but also in the form of Hollywood cinema and thus Africans should develop an appropriate film style. The narrative influence of soap is s een through the glamorization of Lagos through establishment shots. songs. Once the cinematic theme addresses similar conditions of under developme nt. folklore music. static camera positioning is a by-product of primitive stage of filmic narrative. pp.45-46). are applied differently in both traditions.11-30). (Cited in Shaka. Africans inherited so much from the colonial masters that her identity seems to be in uneven. Shaka states that narrative techniques in Nigeria video film are influenced by the rural-urban migratory patterns in developing societies and the narrative tec hniques of Nigerian television soap operas. In search of African narrative technique. There have been several attempts to define the African narrativ e pattern which is devoid of western influence. the concep t of hero. Therefore. Shaka’s book. He asserts that third world countries have a unique tradition with regards to production pattern. This book ar gues that though African literature is written in English language. the panning shot. 2004. This results in the gradual narrative pace . narrative action seems to drag. In an attempt to d efine African narrative. p. PP. assumptions. 2004. two schools emerged as narrative model s. Historically speaking. extended s ilence and gaps. producers must in order to re tain African patronage put this into consideration and thus retain Hollywood cla ssics without necessarily taking up all the clichés (Shaka. The postcolonial public has been conditioned by what is termed the cinema o f distraction inherited from Hollywood. His study reveals that narrative pattern of Nollywood is influenced by two na rrative schools. The camera though invented by the Whiteman still tells African stories the African w ay. world outlook and belief systems. 47-48). Language is just a vehicle through which the Africans shar e values. Cinematic codes o f the long takes. Onwuchekwa and Madubuike. Gabriel was the first to analyze third cinema as a tricontinental phenomenon. The article also discusses the underlying f orces of the marketers who instituted the star system. he posits that the ideology rather than the people or place makes for third cinema films. Static camera positioning is a carryover mentality of what the static photography camera does for us (2003. pays attention to narrative technique of the third cinem a which includes narrative and oral discourse. On a similar note. weste rn technique advocates fast cuts and joins in films because of the value they pl ace on time (Shaka. poverty and illiteracy that are peculiar in the third world countries. 2004. Many schools of thought have eme rged with different propositions on this issue. Given a chronological acc ount of colonial and post colonial films. Genre and Text of Emergent Video Film Industry in Nigeria”. 37-38: Ekwuaz i. pp. Ous mene Sembene proposes a development of African cinema with preconceived destinat ion. While African narrative t echnique favours long shot and panning because of African communal nature. Furthermore. (2004.activities of the early videographers as a catalyst to the smooth transition of film in Nigeria and affirms its stagy influence on film When static camera positions are adopted at the level of scenic representation. 81). all of which are culturally determined. Modernity and the African Cinema provides a det ailed theoretical base towards the understanding and definition of narrative fil m. it qu alifies as the third cinema. 26-28). 81-83).

This stems from a number of issues. “Film grammar is all about camera angles. 20 04. Thus the mastery of camera alphabets accounts for excellent production. Beyond film’s grammatical narrative techniques. which could be summed up as po .22). p.24). Femi Shaka. One can therefore argue that Med Hondo’s concept can only be seen in Nollywood’s visual narrative tech nique and not in the dramatic content. its credibility is stil l in a scale. though its African communal nature is exemp lified in Nollywood narrative. In his review of selected films.12).17). Onokomo Okome amongst others. Thus.13). He identifies the rules as 180 degree rule. Nollywood film will be crystallized if strong video film production and distribution houses emerge. movement and juxtaposition of shots as seen in Ukwa and long John. p. the entrepreneurial production and marketing structure which leans on slim budgets accounts for a lot of unprofess ionalism and mediocrity. the mastery of filmic alphabet has produced cineastes of Franc is Ford Coppola and Sembene Ousmene (2007.9) He equally recognizes the under-exploration of full narrational range of the camera narrative as one of Nollywood’s challenges (2004. Again his observation of under-explorat ion of narrative techniques propels this study. Film production as well as marketing is not an exceptio n to this capitalist structure. film production and marketing are naturally structured t hat few big film production and distribution houses control film business. Though Hollywood and Nollywood have different film history. Nigeria as a capitalist country reflects capitalism in her business structures. p. 2004. Ime Usen’s “Stage Influence on Nigerian Video Film” gives a historical accou nt of poor narrative technique in Nollywood.of Nollywood films against the fast nature of western films. p. smaller production houses submerge to these big production houses like Universa l. camera placement/movement. Desmond Davis asserts that Every art has its rules. Ukwa (2001) which was directed by Chika Onu and Long J ohn (2002) directed by Sunday Nnajiude. Nigerian film production and distribution are done purely on entrepreneurial basis without a s trong distribution network. it would draw attention to itself and away from the subject matter (1978. Usen affirms that stage influence narrat ive system of video film is a product of cross over theatre artists from the sou th west of the country (2002. he acknowledges the under-exploration of f ull narrational range of the camera in its placement. He asserts that Nollywood is promising thou gh Ekwuazi thinks that its standards are still low because of this staginess. However Teshome Gabriel’s concept of folk m usic and song are scarcely employed. Jonathan Haynes.129).” (Usen. He uses Shaka’s narrative principle of rural urban migratory patterns a nd glamorization of Lagos and its environs for the critical analysis of Ukwa and Long John video films. However. shots . Paramount and Warner Bros for the distribution of their films. p. Though Nollywood has gained popularity since inception. He asserts that When a proper cinema (syntax) is engaged in active process of constantly “matching” chains of shot not merely by association or logical relationship but also by emp athy peculiar to cinema. what is paramount about scholars that have worked on narrative technique is that they have likened its technical narrative to a grammar in a la nguage. It is on previous works done by Hyg inus Ekwuazi. the 30 degree ru le and screen direction rule. Shaka affirms this position and also likens camera works as literary alphabets. In point of fact. The masterpiece of literature would surely lose if some thing of it were mis-spelt and wrongly punctuated. Just as the mastery of linguistic alphabets produced literary giants like Wole Soyinka a nd Chinua Achebe. juxtaposition of shots etc. bad spellin g and punctuation would do exactly what bad camera work would do. p. he analyzes his interview with Nkem Owoh whose improvisationa l approach to acting can be likened to the talky character of the stage as Hayne s and Okome refer to it in their article earlier reviewed in this work (Usen. In dramatic content of films. Proferes refers to this as film grammatical rules. (2 004. the blend so achieved spells cinema sense (2005. p. Citing Shaka. In Hollywood which is a film tradition in equall y a capitalist country. p.9).

Producers form their companies. The government prefers the documentary genr e to feature film. urges for government support of feature film production in Nige ria. reflect or relate to this chaquered ex perience (1987. Tho . and equally produced films with their production houses. This is because they had bias on film as an art and its professionalism over film as a commodity and its marketability which sustains th e industry. 70). and Ugbomah. has been very seriously marginalized by feature film” [1987. on account of this. to the pr esent day. Some of the production houses were established in conjunction with fore ign production houses. One therefore wonders how far NFC h as gone to throw in support to independent film producers. However. 289). viii]. The se men have thus used their stores as production houses and reduced film to a co mmodity. Ekwuazi observes that From 1903. p. Eddy Ugbomah. The National Film Distribution Company [NFDC]. a production company owned by Kenneth Nnebue. p. Film structure in N igeria has passed through several phases that reflect the tempo of the country’s p olitical economy. One. The Federal Ce nsors Board and the National Archive” (Shaka. Living in Bondag e was produced by Nek video Links. Apart from the companies run by Balogun. but by creating a larger market through the expansion of cinema distribution’’ (Shaka. 2004. It has rather enacted film policies and set up bodies that regulate film pr oduction. the capitalist nature of Nigerian economy has marginalized these profes sional film makers from running profitable production companies living the new c rop of Yoruba film merchants who control the Alaba Yoruba film market and The En glish and Igbo film merchants who control Onitsha and Alaba and Aba markets. through the American type presidential syste m of government to another series of military inter-regnum. from its landmark inception in 1992 to th e present attests to this entrepreneurial production structure. Some of these bodies include “Federal Film Unit [FFU]. 2004. Ugbomah and Halilu. Balogun and Ugbomah’s films were produced solely by their com panies. Shaka asserts that the principal objective of the Nigerian film corporation is to “… use its resources to encourage and promote all film makers not only by financial ass istance wherever possible. Ekwuazi supports the notion that “…the documentary is still held in virtual monopoly by the government and perhaps.or narrative techniques influenced by unorganized structure. 292-297]. therefore. The Jeta Amata production of Amazing Grace which was sponsored by Donald Duke’s administration of Cross Rivers government justifies this claims. p. However. some first generation production houses that were formed by th e likes of Eddy Ugbomah could not stand the taste of time though their films wer e acclaimed nationally. pp. produce films and establish their distribution networks without gover nment assistance. production houses were formed and run professional ly by theatre artistes like Hurbert Ogunde. military inter-regnum. Adamu Halilu floated their p roduction companies. preface. established in 1965. The film as an art f orm. However. It should also be recalled that Nigerian trained movie producers who ca me back from abroad like Ola Balogun. Lack of support from the government contributes to the low int ellectual nature of Nollywood films. Citing Ekwuazi. Ogunde. The production structure of Nollywood. p. This undoubtedly accounts for the reason why Onits ha and Alaba mediocre production structures succeeded more than that of Balogun. There is no gain emphasizing that production is not complete till it gets to the final consumers. The Nigeria Film Corporation [NFC]. This inevitably discourages intellectuals and corporate or ganizations from investing in the industry as there are no formal structure of r ecouping one’s investment. Nigeria has passed from colonialism through independence. Before the production of Living in Bondage by Nek Video Links. a parliamen tary system. private film Production Companies were earlier floated in 1970’s to produce featur e films. Hanks in partnership with Sok oto State Government [Shaka. when the very first movie exhibition took place in Nigeria. Adebayo Salami who embraced the eme rgent film culture. 288). should on its functional plasticity. few corporate bodies still invest in video fil m production. Afrocult foundation and Eddy Fosa films respectively and Adam Halilu’s fil ms were mostly produced by his production company. Shaka recalls that the first of such private film product ion company established in Nigeria was Calpenney Nigerian Film Ltd. 2004.

Ds for the teeming African audience. Though it was not a com mercial success because of the bureaucratic nature of NTA’s administration.C. White Waters (2 007).3 Summary Review of these scholarly works affirms that poor narrative technique is one of the major problems in Nollywood. He noted that narrative can either be presen tational or representational. were purely for the promotion of Amstel malt product. edited on computer and replicated on V. In an attempt to define narrative. Besides partnership and corporate sponsorshi p.2 The Theory of Narrative. The narrative pattern of the Nigerian video film is further examined in the l ight of the stage and television influences which are gradually paving way for w estern ideology and visual motifs. The visual component which accounts for filmi c narrative quality in a film is equally examined. (Personal communication with Obinna Nwafor). narrativity and story. Obinna Nwafor’s Tak e Me to Mama which was produced in conjunction with Nigeria Television Authority in the year 2000 throws more light on such partnership. auteur system and genre to the narrative techniques of video film is adequately examined with the aim of asserting that a perfect inter play and synergy of these filmic concepts will improve the narrative quality of Nigerian video films. narrative. The representational narratives come in different . 2. However. The influences of filmic con cepts such as semiotics. some other cooperate bodies still invest in movie production for other rea sons beyond profit making. 3.ugh the film did not return the one hundred and fifty million naira investment o n it. This work took cognizance of on Robert Scholes’ theory of narration and narratives in film. His study provides the context for further research in the subject mat ter. available literature shows that most r esearch conducted on the subject area were done in the nascent phase of Nigerian video film industry.1 Introduction This chapter provides the theoretical framework upon which this study is anchore d. he made a distinction between narration. films produced on entrepreneurial basis are shot with digital video cameras. all directed by Izu Ojukwu. Few production houses also part ner with television stations in the production of video films. Sidney’s Note (2008) and The Child (2009). simila r ventures with the private television houses will be more successful. CHAPTER THREE NARRATIVE TECHNIQUES IN NIGERIAN VIDEO FILMS 3. Amstel Malt’s spnsored Sitenda (2006). some western influences on narrative technique in the rece nt productions have not been properly harnessed. The diversification of differen t narrative techniques in these recent Nollywood productions requires further re search to ascertain the true position of narrative techniques in Nollywood.

lighting. gesture as opposed to those of a literary raconteur or is it a matter of the events themselves? He further admits that narrative. the representa tional form is at one level removed from performance itself. he affirms that film and narrative have such a powerful a ffinity. it must be literary in a way which is purely narrative. film etc) and the abs ence of the event narrated (1976. editing. While presentational form is immediate (language. And films add at least one level to these. and the representation of the character situations and event at another. etc. Citing the Russian formalists and the Prague school of structuralism and in particular. (1976. p. the performance of the actor and the deeds for the character to consider. there is the language of the author at one level.426]. we recognize that it is a story… and the level we recognize as story is distinguished by a certain structural feature in presentation which in turn requ ired of the perceiver an active participation which l should like to call “narrati vity” (1976. He exemplified thes e forms thus In a novel. which is embe dded in these forms is classified into representational and presentational forms . he would not recognize the reconciliati on of his divided worlds in films. 3. In a play. The distin ction between the literary narrative and the recital of the day’s events for insta nce thus constitutes a subject of query. book. …when this process sufficiently coherent and developed t o detach itself from the flux of cultural interchange. Narrative technique is . Scholes observed that.4 17). p. The fourth level which he added to repre sentational narrative propels this research A narration is a process of enactment or recounting which is a common feature in our cultural experience. lighting focus. committed to writing. represented as a sequence of visual images with or without words.419). may be recounted orally. he provides the theoretical formula towards the s tudy of the narrative.3 Narrative Techniques in Nigerian Video Films Since the advent of motion picture. p. He acknowledges different modes of narration and posits that narration depe nds on the presence of the narrative medium (actors. This has given room for a biased intellectual activity. As a perceived narrative begins to imply a special kind of pointedness or telelogy.418). focus. p. we perceive it as a narra tive. p. Most scholars attribute the narrative technique of f ilm with bias to either the dramatic components or technical components of films . Roman Jakobon. Citing Christian Metz. acted out by a group of actors or a single actor. speech. there has been a lot of discourse on the nar rative techniques of films.levels depending on the narrative form.420). for instance. Roman Jakobon had defined literariness as language callin g attention to itself. The fourth level added to film narrative in its technical content justifies that the technical content which includes the camera. He concluded th at if Lessing were brought back to life. Good film de pends on good narrative technique. three easily discerned levels at which form is pe rceptible. and others stand as the adjunct language of motion picture generally referred to as visual language. Is it on performance technique such as language. there is the language of the author. Scholes thus disputes the position of Lessing who earlier divided mimet ic possibility of verbal narration and pictorial representation. Scholes now posits that if narrative may be considered to be literary. music and written language (1976. "A nar rative then. The third level which is the dramatic content combines with the last level which Scholes added to constitute the bedrock of film’s narrative and forms the theoretical formula upon which this research is anchored. camera angle. or as a cinematic flow of movi ng picture with or without sound. voice. gesture etc). presented in wordless pantomime. Thus motion picture gives us objects and pers ons moving in visual system and narratives which combine the powers of poetry an d painting in a wonderful synthesis [1976. The ensemble synthesis of the schools third a nd fourth level which is the dramatic and the technical content respectively acc ounts for a good narrative production. just through the process o f photography itself.

Beyond these noticeable influences is the western influence on Nollywood’s narrati ve technique which might be termed “the cross country migratory pattern”. 3). However. p. Mr. Most Nollywood directors apply them unconsciousl y and most times it sends crisis of meanings to the viewers. Herbert Zettl suggest two visual techniques for effect ive narrative. (Proferes. A sequence of frames is called a shot. the scene where Ugodiya sees a wh ite ram as the representation of Amadioha after the death of her son who was kil led by a tiger. Depth of Field. Angle. This presupposes that film manipulates the complexiti es of iconographic visuals and dramaturgy for a good narrative. rather on camera narrative approach and its implications and psychologic al effects to the viewers. He identifies the se as deductive and inductive visual technique. 2005. However. immediately and directly in films (Casty. The director should be able to lead the spectator along whenever t he point changes from director to the character or vice-versa. 208). story. committed to writing. third person narrative as well as the omniscie nt narrative. provides the illusion of movement. the dramatic and visual contents improved and became more filmic than theatrical. acted out by a group of actors or a single actor. This is the conventional method of . Point of view is mor e objective than subjective since the camera “… assumes the role of a person who is actively engaged in the screen event…” (Zettl. p. 417). speech. The dialogue became less verbo se and more action oriented. 1971. 208). 4). statement. Each indiv idual photographic image is called a frame which is always arranged in a composi tion. Across the Niger. 2006. Purposeful applicat ion of these techniques results in effective visual narrative. with or without words. or as a cinematic flow of movin g pictures. Motion picture film is made up of series of still photographic images w hich when projected in succession. which is defined as footage (Mamer. 2005. plot and in dealing with time and space. Focus and Speed. p. the narrative action of video film starts in one country and ends in an other country. Ibu in London exemplify such narratives techniques. Each technique accounts for the pace and suspense cre ated by a particular narrative. 41). character. The third person narr ative pattern in prose is akin to the director’s objective camera movements and co mposition with the six variables of camera controls which are. While a par ticular film genre adopts its narrative method. The deductive technique could be termed the master scene technique approach. The camera is us ed as the first person narrative. Acr oss the Bridge. auteur systems plays a very prom inent role in the narrative system as every auteur director has his personal nar rative technique which influences the narrative. Most video films such as Osuofia in London. music and written language (1976. Sometimes a subje ctive voice is desired. In this in fluence. The narrative pattern of Nollywood is equally greatly influenced by the co ncept of genre and auteur theory and film semiotics in the industry. 2005. This does not actually deal with the field of vision visual orien tation. 40-41). represented as a s equence of visual images. 2005. Point of view shot is seen in Igodo. Motion. p. However ‘The most common way of using point of view is to have the camera first focus on a person looking on a particular direction and then follo w with a shot of what the person sees’ (Zettl. “It is not altogether analogous to the first person voice in prose. Both combine to form good narrative technique. p. most production houses that do not have sufficient money for cross country prod uction develop a character that have either come from abroad or is travelling ab road. As video film developed in Nigeria. Scholes in his theoretical studies of narrative posits that narrative may be recounted orally. However while physical descriptions are conveyed through the medium of wo rds in novels. p. but it shares that narrative function by allowing the audience to part icipate more fully in the interior life or perceptions of a character… the subject ive camera should not be confused with simply using a point of view shot” (Profere s. Image. Pp. with or without sounds. Siz e.achieved in both dramatic and technical content in a film as scholes’ narrative t heory stipulates. Film shares some characteristics with novel in appr oach to content. they produce a sense of perceptions. presented in wordless pantomime.

understand plot in literary rather than cine matic terms (Sarris. (Zettl. The viewers will be enticed and compelled to apply psychological clo sure when confronted with these series of close-ups. resort to the production of narratives with stereotypical charact ers and predictable plot structures. each serve s its purpose when adequately applied. The close-ups act as intensifiers to the scene and obj ect in focus (Zettl. The conflic t then propels the plot forward. p. The deductive visual technique means the reve rse of the inductive. An occasi onal wider orientation shot could be used to aid the viewers in seeing the vario us close-ups in relation to one another. They beli eve that the genre and star systems of Nollywood naturally sell the films even t hough it has a bad narrative technique. What we have witne ssed so far in Nollywood is a situation where actors are imposed on directors by the executive producers. Nollywood directors. the auteur system which positions the director as the creator of th e film will improve Nollywood productions if given a chance. A producer more likely tamper with a story line than with visual style. 2005. The establishment shot also referred to as the master shot. 3. p. In deductive technique.1976.200-201). He summits that Motion pictures have long held on to the classical deductive approach of moving from establishing shot to close-up. Bare reviewing Hollywood’s pattern asserts that. Nollywood operates a different pattern as executive producers write scripts for their script writers and also direct on location. He goes further to posit that the inductive visual approach select significant d etails of event that represent the whole and presents them as a series of closeups. That is moving from the specific to the general overview. 2 005. This is because of a number of reasons which include the star system that is v ery prevalent in Nollywood. looking into an event. Shot sequence begins with close-up of significant details and then the close.202).201). However. p. The second reason is the entrepreneurial nature of Nollywood. p. where characters introduced eventually leads to conflict development and subsequent resolution. However. Directing process in Nollywood has never favoured the auteur system. 2). pp.4 Auteur System in Nollywood The roles of Nollywood directors have been undermined by the executive producers . ‘Many mo viegoers still identify a film with its star yet the trend now is to find and se parate the one person who can be held accountable for the result of the total pr oduct’ (2002. This is the reason why Nollywood films a re not filmic. shots move from long to medium and to close-ups. and creating an event. The third is the theme driven nature which cumulatively disfavours the practice of a uteur system in Nollywood. 2005. we have a handful of auteur directors in Nollywood who h ave distinguished themselves because of their personal styles and signatures of films production. He equally identifies three basic ways of playing on audience psychology us ing such medium for optimal communication as. 247). looking at an event. Zettl advises that a general shot be used to end the scene just to make sure that one’s point is retained.200).u p and a series of close-up details that best portrays the whole event. Filmmakers believe that the inductive series of close-ups increased not only the already high energy at the screen images but the audience as well… the sound track becomes an essential e lement for facilitating closure in inductive sequencing (2005. like most people. and thus mentally structure the close-ups into a sensible event gestalt. However. Each of these basic ways can serve as visual na rrative approach which is embedded in either inductive or deductive approach (Ze ttl. One finds Nkem Owoh for instance. However no one technique is better than the other. sets the dramatic environment and the context for the scene. It could be likened to an exposition in good story. They can be considered as auteur because of the reoccurring na . occasioned by these fact ors mentioned. Producers. directing himself on location. the overview shots can be disp ensed if various close-ups have been properly selected to express the essence of the event. But you may have noticed that now many large screen motion pictures use inductive approach as well. p. This has made our movies to loose credibili ty.moving a shot from general to specific.

Richard Griffith recorded the early genres in Hollywood films as a reflection of the American way of life and a mirror of A merican society. (1976. He was the first to use the zoom and b lur camera narrative technique in Nollywood.5 Genre Perspective in Nollywood History credits Nollywood with circles of genre development just as it did to Ho llywood in the early Hollywood days. The influence of aut eur system in Nollywood is that it has improved narrative techniques through mas tery. p. However.. Tunde Kalani directed Saworoide. In a like manner. However. D ickson Iroegbu. Some of Tade Ogidan films are Host age. Pr ominent among Izu Ojukwu’s films are Who Will Tell The President. most directors also have their pers onal narrative signatures in their manipulation of the visual components of the film. M ost times. Tunder Magon and others. Shaka traces the genres in Nollywood as the “… rituals followed by epics… These were followed by Christian evangelism video films…” (1997.ture of a particular style in their works. For instance. Izu Ojukwu. He identified these early genres. Teco Benson shot The Senator. as the gangster. others have theirs in the application of visual components as adjunct to narrative. The World is Mine. Prominent among such films is Mission to Nowhere which this study examines. Sim ilarly. Dickson Iroegbu’s themes are socially r elevant and address topical issues. Genre-mixing and re cycling has equally been prominent in Nollywood. Besides. greedy man in all his films while Patience Ozokwor plays a mischievous mother In-law. Hi s training and competence in cinematography makes a very wonderful impression in the narrative technicality of his films. plot and themes. However. Ifeanyi Onyebor’s New Jerusalem is remar kable among his films. The State of Emergency. Teco Benson strives for visual narrative competence in his films though his personal signature is equally tilted to his themes which are based on crimin al and detective patterns of western countries on African soil. which were predominant in 193 0s. Pete Edochie. the reoccur ring application of these narrative techniques by these auteur directors results to monotony in film narratives. the confessional and the topical films. all the producers rush into productions in i t without proper research and scripting. For instance. can be considered as auteur directors. Chief among these is Izu Ojukwu who is more concerned with the visual narr ative attributes of his films for which he does not settle for half measures. pp. The year 2000-2011 saw genres that were termed contemporary and glamour which reflected city lives. This technique which features in mo st of his films. while some of these directors have adopt ed their narrative techniques in the treatment of story. Most of these genres have developed their star system which p ropels the market force. Pete Edochie plays no other role than that of a wicked. and Patience Ozokwor who mostly identify with ritual genre s. This popular genre was the first to hit the international market with the film Osuofia in London (Kingsly Ogoro 2003). Mis sion to Nowhere. These accounts for the predictable natur e of Nigerian video films as these archetypes maintain the same character in all . Nollywood genres have helped to crystallize Nollywood as the executive producers pump money into the production of genre related films believing it will sell and mostly the films do. genre has also destroyed our growing movie culture. The peculiar reoccurring experimentations of the visual style adopted by t hese directors pave way to improved narrative in Nollywood. Few directors like Tade Ogidan. comedy as seen in Nkem Owoh’s films came on board . directs the attention of the audience to where he wants it. The M ayors and Trinity. Teco Benson and a few o thers. 111-118) . 138). among others. Sitanda and White Waters. Cindy’s diary. This star-genre system has compelled the plot and actin g techniques of narrative video films to tilt towards archetypes as it developed stock characters such as Nkem Owoh (Osuofia) who mostly identifies with comedy genres. a popular genre. Dickson Iroegbu. Producers equally recycle related stories on these stars. thus producing films with narrative inc onsequentialities. This is because once a part icular genre succeeds commercially. Ifeanyi Onyeabor. Dickson Iroegbu’s films include Women’s Cult. Dangerous Twins and others. Th en afterwards. they are cast as husbands and wives in many films. 3. Ifeanyi Onyeabor and Tunde Kalani use much of film dramatic elem ents such as plot and theme. Tunde Kalani.

concludes that connotation is what is signified by a sign when the sign combines aspects of the basic materials of the film and the story that those aspects denote (1977. Nevertheless. Film is an illu sion of reality.these films. Semiology is the theory of signs that was propounded by F erdinand de Saussure who was born on November 26. Guzzetti in tracing the origin of Semiology asserts that “Semiology deriv es its linguistic framework from Ferdinand de Saussure. 1973. therefore. 1857. 217). Shaka affirms that “the picture.g. However. much le ss the international standard. Human beings are concerned about the production and significance of meaning in t he society. W . Its objects are thus at once th e different sign-systems and codes at work in society and the actual messages an d texts provide thereby. Another tremendous influence of genre system is that it not only determine s the type of the films to be produced but its narrative technique through its p lot pattern and language. Metz asserts that the semiotics of the cinema can be conceived of either as a semiot ics of connotation or as semiotics of denotation (1974. to a family with a long history of contributions to the sciences ( Nwokedi. Harman opines t hat the semiotics of connotation can be seen as the meaning imbedded in particul ar information while the semiotics of denotation can be seen as the meaning of i nformation on the face value. the system within a language that comprises such elements as the phonetic.as-a-system–of-signs. however. who furnished the indisp ensable distinction between the general term language (e. the means whereby meanings are both generated and exchanged” (1980. 205). which together permit the intelligibility and multiplicity of utterances” (Guzzetti.. index and symbols. Film borrows a lot from semiotics since its major concern is communication. “… I do not believe it is possible to understand the social relevance and the aesthetic functioning of a m ovie without focusing on it from a semiotic point of view” (1977.” Elam (1980. It goes without saying therefore that a director’s knowledge and competence in various as pects of cultural and psychological semiotics will help in the production of mea ning. following the death of the Swiss linguist. 130). As such it is equally concerned with process of s ignification and that of communication i. etc) and langue. coined the word semiotics “… as a science dedicate d to the study of the production of meaning in society.e. a pictur e is worth a thousand words. The importance of the film director to understand and apply semiotics in directing was highlighted by Eco. These have resulted in the production of films that fall short of local standards. Harman narrows the definition o f semiotics to film as a “…the theory of film. and poetic mood” (1974. p. 2010 . This has drastically affected the narrative quality of Nollywood f ilms. However. But that is if the picture is understood. is meaningful depending upon the c ultural background of the viewers and their level of visual literacy. p. The idea is that we are to think of film as a kind of language and try to develop the linguistics of this language of film (1977. 173). which is the means wh ereby meanings are both generated and exchanged. an American p hilosopher Charles Sander Peirce.p. though both are used interchangeably an d mean the same thing. and semantic sub-systems. 204).1). in Geneva. most film directors do not un derstand the language of semiotics. Switzerland. If a view er cannot decode a visual message.. p.6 Film Semiotics Semiotics has been defined by Elam as “… a science dedicated to the study of the pro duction of meaning in society.185). As such it is equally co ncerned with processes of signification and communication. genre. p. English.1). He.11). The word semiotics comes from semiology. We have three types of denotative signs which include icon. p. However. Ferdinand de Saussure. 205). the picture becomes worthless” (2007. French. p. This dearth of knowledge accounts for poor c omposition of shots and a wrong use of visual effects and components. p. 3. syntactic. Rus sian. Harman reviewing M etz advised that we should study denotation before connotation because that is t he way various aspects of plot are presented before we study such things as styl e. The Nollywood director should be able to manipulate the denotat ive and connotative signs to achieve good narrative.p. p. Film semiotics has thus attracted much research work because of its iconographic nature.

Hall in 1963 when he investigated man’s use of person al space in contrast with “fixed” and “semi-fixed” feature space (as cited in Ford. Without any dialogue from the a ctor. an angry man is expected to have frown brows.T. However some othe r nonverbal dramatic semiotic components such as facial communication. These three modes interact. Tomkins goes a step furth er to identify these universal emotions as: (1) Surprise (2) Interest (3) Joy (4 ) Rage (5) Fear (6) Disgust (7) Shame (8) Anguish (Philip. There is a comple te visual narrative in establishing such signs in a shot sequence and following up with a character coming out of the rest room. Public zone This is a spatial arrangement that allows distance that stre tches from 12 feet back to the limits of sight. the feeling of surprise could easily be seen in one’s face when one’s eyelids widen. 1970 . If our Nigerian video film directors apply film semiotics to film directing. It is noted for high resemblance to what it represents such as a photograph. 71). The term “proxemics” wa s coined by a reseacher E. For ins tance. we must recall Peirce’s distinct ion between three aspects of sign: iconic. For example. Anyanwu grouped proxemics into four zones: A. the smoke and fire. In particular. Spatial relationship and territorial boundaries directly influenc e our daily encounters. However. Facial communication is one of the major nonverbal narrative techniques. Mastery and use of these expressions aid narratives to actualize its purpose es pecially when making use of the inductive visual approach earlier discussed. Any misuse could be very deceptive to the viewers. An iconic sign is similitude. Indexical signs are casually connected with their objects such as the horn and a car. p. Directors should therefore pay particular attention to semio tic narrative techniques which involve the implication of the effects of dissolv e. on the other hand. do not have any semblance or connection with the objects. Proxemics is the study of man’s appreciation and use of space.e must develop semiotics in accordance with the theory of sign envisioned by the American philosopher C. 1977. thus there is never pure iconic or indexical sign. This will generate creative nonverbal communicative skills rather than dwelling on the archetypes. Every concrete occ urrence of an act of signification however relies on all these three modes (Harm an. 226). Tom kins’ also conducted a research on facial emotions. The complementary role of semiotics to visual nar rative could be exemplified with a symbolic sign which is normally pasted in eve ry modern rest room that connotes either male or female usage. fade out . there are exceptions to facial communication. o ne finds an angry man with normal brows. Man is highly territorial but we are rarely aware of it unless our space is som ehow violated. 1977. p. 209). For instance. symbolic sign. The Expressions of the Emotions in Man and Animals. proxemics comes from the word “proximity” which is “nearness”. the symbol on top of the rest room connotes a rest room. unvoiced opinions and emo tions as aroused. 61). Likewise. These various asp ects of signs are interwoven and interact to produce meanings. Directors should be sensitive to proxemics in blocking a ctors as violations would send wrong signals and result in unnecessary tension a nd suspicion. 1990. Etymologically. indexical and symbolic (Harman.S. Tomkins’ studies support Darwin’s research findings that many expressions are universal. Facial communication reflects inner attitudes. The fir st major scientific study of facial communication was published by Charles Darwi n in a book entitled. colour and film lighting as they depict the mood and tone of scene s and establish time sequence. proxemics . They are just signs that are decoded by a particular set of people. Darwin concludes that many expressions and their meanings are universal. A good narrative must obey these techni ques of facial communication. a public speaker gi ves a considerable distance from his audience. It is t hese eight basic emotions that form the bedrock of facial communication. This is because research has proven that some people’s facial expressions are deceptive. such semiotic concepts as suggestive and selective realism will expou nd creative ability of the director and the interpretative ability of the actor. there is always spatial . body synthesis and synchronization are adequately examined for effective appli cation in film narrative techniques that can be employed to achieve narrative di versity in Nigeria video films. but in some cases. Peirce. p. p. Sylvan S. Every aspect of film production in Nigeria is known for its archetypal interpret ative nature.

94). A. It offers a significant amount o f privacy. our facial expressions. the cha irman of the occasion is expected to seat on the high table. 104). For example. The complementary role of this technique to visual narrative lies in deductive v isual approach where extreme close-up shot for specifics could be induced by the narrative. Facial expressions could easily be interpreted in this zone. It is mainly for so cial interaction. auteur system and genre to the narrative technique of video film were adequately examined asserting that a perfect application of semiotics will improve the narrative quality of Nigerian video films. Good narratives make adequate use of the semiotics of spatial dramatic actor-toactor relationship to represent its narrative intentions and avoid crisis of mea nings. On territorial boun dary. corner to corner and across the table positions (Ford. p.7 Conclusion This chapter having provided the theoretical framework upon which this study is anchored summits that though narrative pattern of the Nigerian video film is inf luenced by the stage and television tradition. B. Action after word This is also a synthetic situation where an action com es after the spoken word. 71). the action and words synchronize at the same time. nodding before saying “y es”. it shows deep reverence and fear. People ar e conscious of their seating arrangements. In synthesis and synchronization. C. The influences of filmic concept s such as semiotics. 63). It help s in face to face contact or personal business. pointing at a car saying “look at that car” ( Anyanwu. Personal zone This advocates a distance of about 2-4 feet apart. Intimate zone. An example is when somebody says “come” and at the same time beckons on h is subject. p. D. B. It is important to note that parties may subconsciously decrease their proxemic distance from social zone to personal zone and to the intimate zone as the case may be. p. It looks at how words and actions are combined to compliment narrative s. Action before words This is a synthetic situation where somebody does a particular action before expressing it in words. Action together with word Here. words. It is good to know that seating arrangements equally have psychological s emiotic values. 1984. It enable s the individual to probe into the inner psyche of his partner to externalize th e feelings therein (Anyanwu. 1984. 1970. for instance. In an occasion. It does not give room for a high level of intimacy. Most times. This enables significant level of privacy. these traditions are gradually pa ving way to Western ideology and visual motifs. Social zone This recommends a distance of 4-12 feet. Ford noted different seating arrangements such as. people are so conscious of their territory that they can go all out to fig ht when they feel their territory is being invaded. 0-2. p. Anyanwu noted that body synthesis and synchronization are classi fied into three groups. eye contacts and gestures must either be synchronized with our speech or be synthesized befo re or after it. C. It shoul d be noted that personal zone varies from culture to culture. Example. Synthesis and synchronization is also a dramatic concept that studies the combin ation and agreement of human speech and actions in speed and time (Anyanwu.delineation between high and low class of the society in any occasion. 1984 . 3. Prop er understanding and application of these semiotic concepts will have a positive influence in the narrative techniques of the Nigerian video films. side by side. CHAPTER FOUR A CRITICAL ANALYSIS OF NARRATIVE TECHNIQUES IN SELECT NIGERIAN VIDEO FILMS . The synthesis or agreement can be employed for special effects.

a curse that will last for ten generations. Only Igodo returns with the spiritual knife. The chief priest of Amadioha is seen on top of a mountain from where the glamo rization of environment is achieved with the camera through his point of view. This filmic action located at the country side projects the thought that the ambulances come from the cities. Before his death. Iheukwumere. Mission to Nowhere and Dog of Wa r. 4.4. Four video films were randomly selected without emphasis on genre. Igodo. (Pete Edoc hie) summoned by the Igwe tells the story of Iheukwumere. Iheukwumere. produced in 2007 and 2008 respectively represent video films with Western influence and more filmic narrative qualities . the scene preceding the introductory scene projects the theme of t he film with a line up of aerial shots of ambulances which semiotically establis h the harvest of death in the village. God visited Umuigodo formerly Umuoka with a harvest of deaths. The filmic narrative point of attack is wonderful. The establishment shot is achieved through the Nollywood glamorization c liché. set up and buried alive by the entire commun ity placed a curse of death that will spill for generations in the community. Iheuk wumere being a victim of men’s conspiracy is buried alive. Mission to Nowhere and Dog of War. the Igwe summons Igodo. Following dibia’s advic e. 4. An evil deed by seven has to be atoned by seven. Empha sis is placed on chronological production periods of the video films under study . he pronounces a curse of d eath on Umuoka. seven men p lot. w ho was killed in envy. These video films are Suicide Mission. His summoning by the community was to enquire about the calamity in Umuigo do. The complexity of the narrative technique is wonderful.1 A Critical Analysis of Narrative Techniques in Igodo One of the techniques adopted in the story telling is the use of flashback. The narrative tells four inte rwoven stories with the aid of flashback technique. The birth of Iheukwumere in a small village sparks off the narrative action . Firstly. This accounts for th e expedition and ordeal of the seven men who embark on a journey to the evil for est in atonement for the evil done by their fathers and uncles who had died myst eriously after the act. being a son of Amadioha is loved by the whole community. The influence of television soap operas experience is seen in the establishment or aerial long shots in the video film. Synopsis of Igodo Igodo is one of the greatest epic video film genres that emerged in Nollywood fr om the staple of OJ productions in 1999. the only man who returned from the evil forest expedi tion. The second flashback that is intr oduced in the narrative is occasioned by the historical account of the deaths in Umuoka. The old dibia. The first fl ashback equally shows the harvest of deaths in Umuoka.2. repr esent the video films with much stage and television narrative techniques influe nces. A ggrieved by the admiration showered on Iheukwumere by the community. While Suicide Mission and Igodo. set him up and bury him alive. the son of Amadioha. A spiritual tree mu st be cut with a spiritual knife gotten from the shrine of Amadioha far away in the evil forest.1 Introduction Having discussed the influence of narrative pattern in Nollywood. Igodo shares his experience in the tale of the great past which occasions se ries of flashbacks. produced in 1998 and 1999 respectively.2. A deed done by seven sp ells calamity and breeds death amongst the people of Umuoka. the flashback that is introduced by the tale of Igo do explains the cause of death at that period. It was directed by Andy Amanechi. this chapter e xamines select Nigerian video films with the view of asserting that the narrativ e pattern of the video films that emerged recently are becoming more filmic and expunged of stage and television influences due to the influence of western trad itions. With the su mmoning of Igodo. Thus seven men embark on an expedition in the land of the dead in quest of Amadioha’s spiritual knife. the narrative reveals through series of flashbacks the events which had caused deaths in Umuoka and how the deaths were stopped by appeasing A madioha who was aggrieved by the death of Iheukwumere. Th .

is punctuated with some technical narrative flaws. Rather. Igodo . As he discharges the elders. Establishing time sequence in Nollywood films has always been very stereotypical. on whose narratives point of view these series of flashbacks anchored advis es them to find solution to the present crisis through previous experiences. seven men embark on a journey to the evil forest. Egbuna’s screaming of “Amadioha” explains the decoding of the semiot ic meaning of the white ram which connotes sacrifice in African context. though very interesting and engaging because of its fl ashback and expedition techniques that drive its suspense to a subjective mood. the video film employs a creative approac h of time sequence in transposing the character of the young Ihukwumere to the o ld Ihukwumere. To appease Amadio ha.us. The plot of this pl ay is woven around expedition to the evil forest by some men to find solution an d peace in their community. The POV shot is used to establish the assassins’ spatial orientation to Ihukwumere from I hukwumere’s perspective. Dume’s death which was caus ed by Egbuna’s refusal to embark on the journey is foretold semiotically with a wh ite ram which appears in a vision seen by Egbuna’s wife in a trance through a POV visual technique. Upon zooming up. His return is forecasted by the Old Dibia during his blessing to the seven men before they embark on the expedition. Esp ecially in the scene where the elders advise Egbuna (Sam Dede) to embark on the expedition. The narrative language is full of proverbial d ialectics and Igbo-to-English transliteration dictions which help to establish t he filmic mood and environment. The narrative. There is superfluous use of particular sound effects to herald the appe arance of a ghost or danger in the evil forest. The concept of predestination plays a major role in Igodo’s return. Ikenna”. Low ang le shots which connotatively depict fame in dramatic narrative are applied arbit rarily. iye ana” which means that yo u will go and return. However. While most films employ graphical method in establishing time by writing “twenty years later” for instance. This is realized with the aid of sharpening arrow. an evil deed hatched by seven and endorsed by the entire community spells de ath on every first son of Umuoka both at home and in Diaspora. This is exemplified in the scene where the villagers accompany the seven warriors to the dibia’s shrine before they leave for the evil forest. The language firmly establishes the evolvement o f narrative action which is marked with high suspense. the only one who returns from the expedition is believed to have heeded Dibia’s instructions not to help any body out of trouble. Though he blessed others. Evidence of cultural semiotics is seen in the video film. The camera est ablishes the young Ihukwumere sharpening the arrow and zooms down to the arrow. The wife exclaims in Igbo diale ct “ya awukwa laa na onwego ihe mere Ikenna mo” which means. Egbuna’s refusal was occasioned by the fact that the community did not hing when his land was ceded to Nwoke. He says “iye eji. The forest expedition conc ept could have been influenced by the stage play Lamgbodo written by Wale Ogunye mi which won the first prize for Playwriting in FESTAC 1977. “let it be that nothing h as happened to my dear husband. Most of the expeditors go contrary to Old Dibia’s instruction that they shoul d not help themselves in the evil forests. climbs the tree. Superfluous . They do this out of compassion. Apart from the unified colour pictures seen in the us e of different cameras which make the narrative lack picture continuity. he never said that they will ret urn. his son runs in to announce that a tiger had pounced on Dume his first son. Arbitrary camera setups are p rominent in the narrative. the narrative reveals the old Ihukwumere sharpening the same ar row. the film whi ch ends in the country side in different flashback sequences does not proffer an y solution to the present crisis which has led to deaths in Umuigodo. He however mistakenly shoots O konta mistaken him for an animal. A point of view shot was employe d when the young Ihukwumere upon pursuit by assassins. Ig odo. The cul tural semiotics is also seen in the film at Ikenna’s death in the evil forest whic h was heralded by his wife’s breaking a water pot. There are attempts to glamourize the location of the evil forest through beautiful mountains and exotic landscapes. Egbuna rushes ou t and carries Dume’s body to the scene of filmic action.

This is seen in the dramatic narrative as Monique’s actions towards the her balists’ lack strong motivation.1 Egbuna carries Dume’s body to scene of filmic action as Egbuna’s wife see s a vision of a white ram. Winnie goes back to her husband’s house on the insinuation of the angel. Figure 4. She is thus advised never to all ow the bottle to break. Aust in’s effigy is then given to Monique in a bottle. Figure 4. The picture of the white ram seen by Egbuna’s wife 4. Every husband in Nollywood is handsome and rich a s seen in Austin while every wife is beautiful as seen in Winnie. Austin gets a pastor who prays for Monique. After confessing.3. directed by Fred Amata centres on Austin’s family. This offensive action sustains the narrative in viewer’s expectation of poetic justice which late r occurs in the video film through Monique’s transmogrification into a dog. Her character is not deeply defined. The rain effects in the video film is too mechanical. Consequently.2. The narrative visual effect of Austin’s effigy (Richard Mofe Damijo) . Deductive visual approach is mostly used and shot compositions are wonderfully h andled. The portrayal of this family model stirs viewer’s admiration ther eby projecting Monique’s actions of breaking such model offensive. The appearan ce of the Angel in Winnie’s dream attests to this deus ex-machina narrative form.3 Synopsis of Suicide Mission Suicide mission. The use of music to heighten the thematic mood in the narrative is perfectly achieved. (Ameze Imarhia ge) Austin’s wife. She finally turns into a dog. As the rope breaks. Ritual video film genre could be likened to the deus ex-machina era where the supernatural does everything fo r men. The mermaid spirit beacons on Austin who is tied on a bridge with a rope across his neck. goes to the herbalist for magical charm that will make Austin to marry her.3. Being mad. On her wa y back. Monique (Regina Askia) being madly infatua ted by Austin who is already married with three kids. 4. the semiotic value of different visual colours that could have been employed for an effective visual approach to highlight different flashback sequences is not well expressed in the video film. After consulting the first her balist whose charm lacks potency. Though inductive screen approach is adopted in the video film.use of theme music cliché in Nigerian video films as observed by film scholars is not employed in the video film. However. The ritual significance in the video film derives its driving force from the metaphysical manipulations.1 A Critical Analysis of Narrative Techniques in Suicide Mission The video film is full of suspense with its introductory scene established in a dream world. This makes her mad. he falls inside the river where the m ermaid is and wakes up. the narra tive technique is also marked with a lot of flaws. Besides the glamorization of Lagos seen in the establish ment shots as the opening credit rolls. Figure 4. one of the ritual video films that emerged in 1998. Monique mistakenly breaks the bottle containing Austin’s effigy. she proceeds to the second herbalist and being desperate makes love to the spirit of a dead man on the herbalist’s request. M onique consults the herbalists to marry Austin and equally consults the herbalis t in a bid to kill him. Monique later decides to kill Austin and inheri t his wealth. She goes back to the herbalist’s who prepares her a charm. the charm is beaten by rain contrary to the herbalist earlier warning th at water should not touch the charm. more influence of glamorization of famil y models is equally prevalent. Austin marries Monique and sends his wife parking following Monique’s setup.

Most dramatic semiotic values are per fectly observed. 4. the late Mezie Mmadu’s gardener who also is willed the sum of five million naira continues his duties in Mezie Mmadu’s house diligently. the murdered woman’s daughter who just returned from Austr alia. Nathy. Beautiful sho t descriptions are seen in the video film. Adams but eventually finds her dead before getting there. spotted also to have been with Mrs.in a bottle in Suicide Mission. Following this. The investigations to uncover the truth leads to nowhere. Ken is distracted by Uli (dog) as he wants t o take the poisoned drink. The second attempt through food poiso ning by Ejike takes the filmic action to a climax as Ken ignoring Uli’s warnings e ats the poisoned food. Secondly. Ken sends Uli (his dog) a message to her in a piece of paper. he meets father Nichola s whom Mrs. Ken and Rose fi nally meet and fall in love. 4. knowing little about the mother. Pame la (Stephanie Okereke). Ken being distracted by Uli not to take a poisoned drink in Dog of W . Dissatisfied that only an average of five million naira was willed to them in Mmadu’s multi billion naira estate. his daughter Rose brings him food on a particular day. Oba Ejike also poisons his drink in their next meetin g but his plans equally fail because of Uli’s distractions. Firstly. The se lect exposition approach employed by the director makes the video film replete w ith suspense. Further attempts to ta ke Ken’s life fail. father refuses to disclose the confession details as it was against Cann on law. Uli takes revenge by k illing Ken’s uncles for killing Ken. His uncles. 4. Though the confession could be a good lead to uncover the reason for the murder.1 A Critical Analysis of Narrative Techniques in Mission to Nowhere The visual narrative technique in Mission to Nowhere is highly professional. Though Moris denies having killed Mrs.5 Synopsis of Dog of War Dog of war is a tragic video film that centres on the character af a Dog. Uli. Th ere is a twist as Tina confessed that she committed the murder in vengeance for Mrs. could not enhance the investigation. Uli throws the food away. Camera equipment such as crane machine enable the view ers to be actively involved in the scenes where they are employed. his kinsmen gather to hear his will. Mezie Mmadu having died. Dete ctor Rogers (Sam Dede) who would not stop at anything to uncover the murderer on ly meets stunning challenges with the suspects. Mmadu’s relations decide to kill his only son Ken who just returned from abroad for the burial ceremony.4. Adams in her residence sho rtly before her murder is Jack Moris who works with an insurance company. Adam’s reckless driving that had led to the death of her (Tina) husband five years back. she gives a glue to Sk whom the narrativ e voice presents as the prime suspect through inductive visual approach. Oba Ejike further engages Udoka to kill Ken w ith food poison. Adams had earlier confessed to in her residence shortly before her m urder. Figure 4. state CID. Oba Ejike’s hired assassins could not find Ken because Uli commu nicates him of the impending doom. Adams. led by Oba Ejike invite Ken for a family meeting in the process of w hich they put poison in his drink. Sk’s confession heightens the narrative conflict as he accepts atte mpting to kill Mrs. he dies instantly. Different plots by Ken’s uncles to kill him are flawe d by Uli’s (his dog) through semiotic language.4 Synopsis of Mission to No Where Mrs Adam’s murder in cold blood triggers off investigations from the Homicid depar tment.4. While workin g. Citing and admiring he r. The re is a perfect combination of deductive and inductive screen approaches. Flashback narrative techniques were employed sparingly by the dire ctor. Upon in tense torture. There is much experimentation which occasions the full range of camera nar rative in the video film.

He deliver s letters from Ken to Rose and vice versa. her husbands. Most actions by Ken’s uncles are done sitting down in Oba Ejike’s parlor. Lolo believes that Ken’s kinsmen. Uli. The extension of th e semiotic language of the dog’s character in relation to human character propels the narrative to a climatic state where Ken’s flaw in failing to decode Uli’s signs leads to his (Ken) death. as seen in Ghosts’ Conflict.5. Uli is used comprehensively in the narrative. who want to kill him in the belief that he came back to cut them out of their w ill. The narrative implication in the film’s use of dog a s the central character is a western influence in Nollywood films earlier discus sed.1 A Critical Analysis of Dog of War The narrative centering around the character Uli. The sitting down narrative syndrome is very prevalent in the video film. This reduc es the narrative tempo and makes it less engaging. Uli sends a letter to Rose.5. . a Rottweiler dog. Ken’s motivation for leaving his studies abroad is not stated. This accounts for the cross country m igratory pattern in our video films. the central character. Unlike the metaph ysical narrative techniques in most Nollywood’s films. Characterization is however. However. thus they do not have character depth. Rose’s unborn baby signifies hope for Mmezie and Nathy’s families. It has a late point of attack as Mmezie Mmadu and his wife. This is a narrative technique that is noticeable in most Nigerian video films. The narrative technique which is realized through the activities of the dog is very impressive. He never looks moody for once as the o nly son who just lost his parents. The video film’s narrative point of attack is wonderful. 4. This is because Nigerian video film viewers lost interest on the stagy narrative techniques of video films. Besides.5. Producers in a q uest to meet the filmic taste of Nigerian viewers resorted to production of narr atives with Western motifs. confines his daughte r Rose to house arrest to prevent her from seeing Ken. However. is marked wi th great semiotic components. are dead before the inception of the na rrative. the esthetics of the film’s narratives technique lies on Uli. to inherit Mmezie Mmadu’s estate. Uli’s character is p roperly defined and remains consistent throughout the narrative. Uli. are light hearted and lack the ability to carry out their treats of killing Ken. afraid of been branded a gold-digger. 4. Summary This chapter summits that video films that were produced from the year 2003 to d ate are more influenced by western ideologies than stage orientation as exemplif ied in the video films under study. who are Ken’s supposed parents. Some producers also produce narratives which normall y start in one country and end in another. The narrative employs character dialogue to establish that Ken’s uncles. his uncles’ characters are not properl y delineated. also killed his parents. The film projec ts the feminist concept in the negative manner through the character of Lolo (Pa tience Ozokwor). not properly developed. Nathy. There is high level of sign language between the c entral character Uli and other actors in the narrative film. This function becomes intensified whe n Rose’s father.ar Figure 4. Mmezie Mmadu. is used to resolve the dramatic conflict. a tragic character fights t he killers of his master Ken.

13-20. (1997). Video film in oth er to regain patronage should not only depict these western ideologies in films but apply film concepts like semiotics to enable a filmic narrative. This western influence is further buttressed by what could be termed “the cross country migratory pattern” as seen in most of these films. state CID against Nigerian police force in crime detec tion and control. This is because of the fascination of the new visual narrative medium. Nollywood’s viewers consequently turned their patronage towards the western film with wester n ideologies.L. To remain in business. Enugu: Abenizer . genre perspective and semiotics. Anyanwu .1 Summary Nigerian video films commanded great patronage in its inception. Drama and pantomime. (1984). in J Haynes (Ed. which were produced in 1998 and 1999 respectively project the narrative t echnique of stage influences more than Mission to Nowhere and Dogs of War which project narrative techniques with Western influences. 5. Mrs Adams. Igodo and Suicide Mi ssion. Nollywood producers borrow and use these we stern traditions in their video films. P p. It also reveals that wes tern ideologies have tremendous influence on Nigerian society. A. is murdered in cold blood in Mission to Nowhere after Pamela returns from abroad where she s tudied.) Nigerian video films. Nigeria film corporation. Pamela’s mother. BIBLOGRAPHY Adesanya. which becomes a central character in the narrative. Uli. “From film to video”. The critical analysis of the narrative tech niques in this study will not only provide a platform for further research on th e subject area but also proffers solution for its efficient application for effe ctive narratives. The archety pal influence of auteur and genre systems to narrative techniques should be dive rsified through proper semiotic applications in the production of narratives. Jos.3 Conclusion Film studies as a nascent discipline requires much literature on its narrative t echniques which this study provides.CHAPTER FIVE SUMMARY OF FINDING RECOMMENDATIONS AND CONCLUSION 5. The two video films.2 Recommendations Studies carried out show that narrative techniques are influenced by film concep ts like auteur theory. Teco Benson’s recent product ions have detective narrative techniques of western film tradition and are furth er highlighted by his reoccurring use of FBI (Federal Bureau of intelligence) or the Homicide department. The use of a dog character as a narrative technique in Dog of War is very obvious of this western influence in Nollywood recent film productio ns. Ken in Dog of War comes back from abroad where he studied. The video film patronage soon dropped as the teeming viewers got dissuaded about the boring nature of it s narrative techniques which was orchestrated by its stage influence. Ken’s romance with the western tradition is portrayed by his fondness with a R ottweiler dog. 5.

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Ini Edo. Enebel i Elebuwa. Mission to Nowhere (2007) Producer. DirectorTeco Benson. with Sam Dede and Stephenie Okereke. Price Jome Uche. with Desmond Elliot. with Richard Mofe Damijo. Obi Mmadubugwu. Regina A sikia. . Chidi Mokeme. with Pete Edoche. Dog of War (2008) Director-Uzee Madubogwu. Ignis Ekwe.VIDEOGRAPHY Suicide Mission (1998) Director. Obot Etuk. Sam Dede. Joe loyode.Teco Benson. Ameze Imorhiaghe. Charles Okafor. Norbort Young. Mcdonald Oti. Patience Ozorkwo. Igodo (1999) Directors.Andy Amenechi and Don Pedro Obaseki.Fred Amata.