The big picture
- The black book is a trending movie on Netflix that shows the ability of the Nigerian Nollywood industry to hold its own in the world of cinema.
- The film is characterized by its authentic cultural context and avoids the “Hollywood trap” of ignoring environmental and cultural factors.
- The film deals with issues such as corruption and power struggles in Nigeria and provides a realistic portrayal of how these issues are practiced and entrenched in society.
The black book has taken Netflix by storm. The film is one of the hottest films on the platform in several countries and is very popular among US film lovers. I wonder what kind of movie this is? If you’ve seen it John Wick or Pierre Morel‘S Taken, Edit Effiong‘S The black book will be a trip into the past. In her debut film, director Editi Effiong shows well that Africa’s largest film industry, Nigeria’s Nollywood, can compete in the world of cinema. But what sets The black book Aside from that, his authentic cultural context is in his storytelling. Some films tend to fall into the “Hollywood trap,” where filmmakers want to produce Hollywood-style films without considering the environmental and cultural contexts of their stories, thereby depriving them of cultural context. Other Hollywood filmmakers have also adapted some international films without much consideration of the original cultural context for which they were written. The result is often films that lack credibility, even if the stories are relatable. The black book is not such a film.
What is Netflix’s “The Black Book” about?
Image via Netflix
Starring many of Nollywood’s A-list actors, The black book is a film that reintroduces African action cinema to the world. Perhaps the most successful African film on Netflix, The black book is about power, revenge, corruption and redemption, with religious elements but not in a preachy way. The film follows Paul Edima (Richard Mofe-Damijo), a retired soldier-mercenary turned deacon, whose son Damilola (Olumide Oworu), is linked to the kidnapping of anti-corruption campaigner Professor Stella Craig (Bimbo Akintola) husband and son. Paul decides to take the law into his own hands and fights against the powerful mastermind gang and the corrupt police to clear his son of his alleged crime. The black book is a film with a strong premise that immerses you in its characters.
Other notable Nollywood movie star actors include Nigerian-American actress Goodbye Laoye as Vic Kalu, a principled journalist determined to expose evil in her society, Alex Usifo Omiagbo as General Isa, the main villain, and Shaffy Bellois the portrayal of the cocky Big Daddy with her all-female army of villains. Big Daddy’s character arc in particular brings a touch of freshness to the film, evoking the ancient all-female West African army that inspired it Gina Prince Bythewood‘S The woman king.
The “Black Book” does not hold back in its depictions of Nigerian corruption
Image via Netflix
While The black book deals with global issues like corruption, it’s not just another movie about it. It is a film that shows you how corruption takes place in this part of the world. Unlike other films, in which corruption is often an inconspicuous, seedy affair where loaded suitcases quietly exchange hands, in The black book, Bribery is loud. So loud that you can see security forces on public streets accepting money as bribes without any shame. This reflects the authentic setting of the film itself. The film is set in Nigeria and reflects how the vices discussed in it are practiced there. Unlike some other cultures, corruption in Nigeria and much of Africa is practiced openly, and those who practice it are well connected to the higher authorities who protect them.
The black book also doesn’t shy away from showcasing Nigeria’s power struggles. The film’s society is governed by power, and power is clearly defined in a hierarchical structure. Set in a country that has seen eight coup attempts (six of them successful) with devastating consequences since its independence in 1960, The black book shows that whoever holds power holds it with both hands. The film shows the power dynamic between those who have authority and those who are subject to that authority. Take, for example, the relationship between the police officers in the film and the civilian population and how this is exercised between seniors and their subordinates in the workplace. It is a relationship of complete submission to the boss – Oga oh! This is cultural authenticity The black book brings the world of cinema into the context of Nigeria.
The black book avoids another trap that films made in multilingual societies often face. Instead of using English as the film’s original language, which is often the easier option (in terms of marketing reach) for many filmmakers, director Editi Effiong chose to have each location dictate the language to be used, similar to a typical Nigerian location. English in its pure Nigerian form is spoken by the upper class, although indigenous languages are also occasionally added. If you’ve already seen the movie, you may remember Big Daddy wondering aloud if the outnumbered and outgunned man their army had surrounded was “crazy” for still believing he had one Chance against them. She said the words in her indigenous language, which is a natural reaction one would expect from most Nigerians in her social class.
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With “The Black Book” Editi Effiong tells an accurate, authentic story
Image via Netflix
Even along the way, the filmmakers showed elements of Nigerian culture and environment that unintentionally added to the overall authentic feel of the film. If you watch the film, you probably remember the topless, relaxed, bossy boy who seemed to be in control of his shantytown. He is a local boy, part of a street gang that controls the area, a common scene in urban areas of Nigeria. You may also remember the young men enjoying Guinness beer on the street. The street shootings, which are also not uncommon in Nigeria, last shorter in the film than often in other similar films. This is a true reflection of such street fights, which lasted less than 30 seconds in real life, as observed by filmmaker Taylor Sheridan. Details like this, in addition to the great plot, elevate the feeling The black book into a believable, authentic story.
Even if it’s not perfect, The black book offers some enticing action sequences and a compelling human story that keeps you hooked. Editi Effiong’s extra step in telling the story authentically makes it interesting to watch The black book Feel like an adventure in cultural exploration. The shared, powerful human story in the film guides you through this cultural safari effortlessly.
Source : collider.com