Film as a medium of social and political change a case study of Dry, Wives On Strike and Black November

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Film as a medium of social and political change a case study of Dry, Wives On Strike and Black November

Abstract

As an essential means of societal transformation, the film medium readily volunteers itself as a platform for the investigation of human conflicts that recur in various societies. Unarguably, the operators of the Nigerian video film industry – Nollywood – have assiduously worked to adjust certain social orientations through their portrayal in video films of the social, political, economic and cultural specifics that define the Nigerian people’s existence. Therefore, this paper adopts a sociological approach of methodology to examine the effects of these efforts on the Nigerian audience; and offers an exhaustive interpretation of the artistic use of visual elements employed in the video films under study

Introduction

The Video film medium in Nigeria has been illuminating Africa’s identity and as well wielding social change to its society. Film was one of the most devices utilized by the Colonial masters in compelling Africans to the European ideology. Emelobe [1 p.426] asserts that: Early Colonialist filmmakers intertwined fun and spectacle, with serious Eurocentric ethics meant to condition the lives of the populace. Several film production outfits established by the imperialists acted in this capacity in both Anglo-and francophone African countries. As a result of this, the African became compelled to see himself and his development in terms of European values and ideology. The foregoing does not only accentuate the social impact of the film medium, but also reinforces the fact that the Nigerian video film has proven very influential on its people towards propagating social change. Thus, film is a powerful man-made instrument used for shaping and re-shaping individuals and the society at large leading to what has become the “Nigerian popular culture” of today. It has grown very influential. Being a visual medium, the audience’s interest is primarily sustained by what they see in the film and not necessarily the story. Film makes us desire things that we may not ordinarily like, but with the appropriate application of visual elements and components by the disparate artists for a film production, the audience are entices and willfully involved in the film as they watch it unfold. In this light the audience identify themselves with the visual images as codes assembled by the filmmaker, he/she perceives it based on his/her understanding with the cultural codes. The understanding of the different codes assembled by the film-maker as a unified entity depends on the viewer’s level of interpretation of the image seen and his/her familiarity with the cultural codes. For film is a creative medium that exposes extracts of the human endeavour and his environs which uses visual elements to initiate social change