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Hustlers, home-wreckers and homoeroticism: Nollywood's Beautiful Faces

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This article examines the ways that Nollywood films are involved in the moral policing of the postcolonial subject both by challenging the state's moral failings and by enacting its ideological violence. I argue that although it is necessary to acknowledge how Nigerian video-films reflect the struggles, anxieties and instability of ordinary Nigerians, it is also crucial to examine the ways that they deflect various concerns about everyday life on to certain bodies. Through a close reading of Kabat Esosa Egbon's film Beautiful Faces (2004), a film about female campus cults, I demonstrate that while the film grapples with issues of violence and corruption on university campuses, it does so by channeling fears about students' educational opportunities into anxiety about women's sexual transgressions. In this way, I suggest that Beautiful Faces is typical of many Nollywood films that simultaneously challenge corrupt and wizened government institutions while also reproducing their normative and violent hetero-patriarchal position.
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Keywords: African popular culture; Nigerian video-film; campus cults; female sexual transgression; homosexuality; prostitution

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: American University, Washington, DC

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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