Navigating Auteurism in Nollywood: Our Directors’ Albatross
Department of Theatre and Film Studies
University of Nigeria, Nsukka
Enugu State, Nigeria
During the French New Wave of the mid-1950s, when youthful and somewhat critical exuberance effervesced and nearly boiled over, one of the ebullient proponents of auteurism as a theoretical construct, Jean-Luc Goddard, a director, enthused with much pathos: “We were all critics before beginning to make films, and I loved all kinds of cinema – the Russians, the Americans, the neorealists. It was the cinema that made us – or me, at least – want to make films. I knew nothing of life except through the cinema.” Without appearing to romanticize about the movement that gave birth to arguments relating to authorship in films, there are very strong and valid lessons auteurism has for filmmaking in Nigeria. This paper therefore reviews some prevalent directing habits (or maybe practice) in Nollywood against enunciated and current best practice in the directing world, recognizing that Hollywood filmmaking will for a long time be the measuring standard. In Nollywood, we need directors that will stand tall, strong and firm with films that will cut across the gamut of the viewing audience and be proclaimed great, by even the doubting critics, especially from the academia. This papers argues that, we need to see great films emerge from the artistic stables of their directors bearing their recognizable stamp of excellence; that is, the spirit of authorship.