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EZE-ORJI, Bernard

Thematic Preoccupation of Igbo Films: New Dimension to the Image Bastardization in Nigerian Movie Industry

Bernard EZE-ORJI

Dept. of Ling/Lang and Literary Studies

Federal University, Ndufu-Alike, Ikwo

PMB 1010, Abakaliki, Ebonyi State


GSM: +234-803-749-4775; +234-909-110-8021


More than any other video films: Yoruba, Hausa, Ibibio/Efik and the Ijaw films in Nigeria, the Igbo film culture has been at the vanguard of sustaining what many have described as the other Hollywood culture in sub-Saharan Africa, maintaining a gigantic viewership and an economically viable enterprise. However, the most disturbing aspect of this success story is the thematic preoccupation of these films, otherwise known as the content. In the near two scores of its existence, the Igbo film culture has more often than not presented the Igbo as a nation of voodoos, occultists, dupes, witches, sorcerers, ritualists and prostitutes. While it controls and enjoys the largest network of viewership and market returns, it has deliberately and heavily misrepresented its primary constituents: the Igbo. Video films usually x-ray a particular culture and within the visuals, content and aesthetics an aggregate of the people’s social attitude is formed. We can say that Igbo image in the Nigerian movie industry is replete with misrepresentations and casts doubts about the sincerity in their business successes and general life-style; and this is invariably as a result of misconceptions from Nigerians about Igbo cultural matrix and mores. This paper re-visits the image myth currently surrounding the Igbos in their films vis-à-vis the Igbo reality. It concludes that placing too high premium on financial gains, the inability to conduct credible research, the impatience to allot time to a particular film project, lack of professionalism that is associated with the video format, and lack of creative and critical borrowings from foreign film cultures have masterminded the ignoble trend that characterizes the Igbo film culture and has conversely cast doubts on the true image of the Igbo.