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Video exposé: Metafiction and message in Nigerian films

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In this article, I discuss how Nigerian film-makers respond to discourses surrounding film-making in Nigeria through using techniques of metafiction to theorize their roles as professionals and cultural mediators. Dividing my analysis into two sections, first on the English-language 'Nollywood' and second on the Hausa-language 'Kannywood', I examine self-reflexive techniques by which film-makers draw attention to their roles as truth-tellers and message-bearers and how metafictions about the film industries illustrate tensions between a junk-journalist expos aesthetic and a celebrity culture concerned with image. While there are many similarities in how film-makers in both 'Nollywood' and 'Kannywood' respond to criticism, I argue that these metafictions reveal differences in economic and cultural context that have resulted in an increasingly upwardly mobile Nollywood, while Kannywood has remained closer to the grass roots. Ultimately, these films express on a smaller scale the film-maker's theories about what the film industry as a whole does for the nation.

Keywords: Hausa film; Islam; Kannywood; Nigerian film; Nollywood; metafiction; self-reflexivity

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Wisconsin, Madison

Publication date: August 1, 2012

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  • The Journal of African Cinemas will explore the interactions of visual and verbal narratives in African film. It recognizes the shifting paradigms that have defined and continue to define African cinemas. Identity and perception are interrogated in relation to their positions within diverse African film languages. The editors are seeking papers that expound on the identity or identities of Africa and its peoples represented in film.
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