Trends And Effects Of Negative Themes In Nigerian Home Movies

Project and Seminar Material for Mass Communication

Trends And Effects Of Negative Themes In Nigerian Home Movies

Chapter One


1.1 Background Of The Study

This study, “Trends of Negative Themes in Nigerian Home Movies” aims at identifying the negative themes in Nigerian home movies, especially those that have their theme, plot, and setting in the rich culture of Nigeria. Even those that have Igbo,Yoruba or Hausa theme, plot, setting like the imported films negatively influence the culture and behaviour of Nigerian people.

There is common belief in Nigeria, that home movies negatively project the culture of Nigeria. That is why Frank Aig-Imoukahuede in Opubor (1995:47) confirms that “many Nigerians have complained of the poisonous content of films shown on the screens in Nigeria a great number of people have criticized the nation’s television for featuring materials which contradict or erode the quality of life and undermines the people’s values and norms. What is needed are films for self projection, for presenting the fact of life in Nigeria. ” the study will be able to confirm or disprove the widely held view.

The history of home videos has it that actual recording and presentation of actualities started with the Lumiere brothers experienced on December 28, 1895 when they achieved this by recording the “break time” in their factory. Dosumu(1995:17) averse that “when brothers Louis, and Auguste Lumiere unveiled their cinematographer in the basement of grand café in Paris on December 28, 1895, they no doubt felt satisfied that they found a new medium for recording and presentation of actualities. Recording actualities is what a documentary does and that is what the Lumiere brothers achieved by recording “break time” in the factory. The impact of the film medium on mankind has been great and varied; carrying ideals and aspirations beyond cultures.

The development of film in Nigeria started with the colonial experience. The first film show took place at the Glover hall, Lagos on Monday august 12, lasted for 10 nights. Messrs. Bolboa of Barcelona Spain showed the film under the management of a Nigerian, Herbert Macaulay. Nevertheless film production started rather late. According to Balogun (1987:48), Obe was considered the first to have made a standard film production in Nigeria by making mute films for the health department in the year 1936.

In 1947 the Nigerian government established the federal film unit. The unit produced mainly newsreels, and documentary films. In the fifties the film industry in Nigeria was dominated totally by foreigners and foreign films. During this era, film shows were done in cinema halls, village squares, school and church premises among other locations. This public show of films, made it possible to show only films that were of “high technical quality”. With the advent of video cassettes, video compact disc (VCD) or the digital video disc (DVD), the old culture of going to the cinema centers and public arenas for film shows dropped. Children and adults now sit indoors glued to their TV sets. Then the era of home movies was born. Movies in English, Pidgin English, Igbo, Hausa, and Yoruba flooded the market on daily basis. It is pertinent to draw the attention of the minister of information and communication, Professor Dora Akunyili, to the arts industry in Nigeria. Only a fool will argue that the country’s arts and culture industry is insignificant in the nation’s re-branding. it has been established rightly that the movie industry of Nigeria (nollywood) is the biggest in Africa and comes third after Bollywood of India with the United States of America’s Hollywood in the forefront .yet a cursory look at the content of our home movies brands is good enough to keep well intentioned tourists and visitors out of our shoes.

Over 90% of movies released in Nigeria, display perverted and negative impression about the country, where violence and afro-centric sciences of juju and ritualized killings dominated the scenes. At times, one wonders where the imaginations of the script writers spawn from; as a result of the kind of bizarre make belief movies they produce. Even a young Nigerian growing up under the influence of these images is bound to develop negative virtues about his environment and people. It is therefore necessary for prof. Akunyili to put machinery in motion to correct these notions and bring some forms of sanity into the industry. As Huseini (2002:31) lamented; “ we need time to achieve this (sanity) because a lot of damage has been done already. Here is an industry where a fellow is probably because he cried in a movie and drew the sympathy of the viewing public or she appeared nude in movie”.

One would then be compelled to ask, “does this negative influences of home movies bring about cultural and behavioural change?” Opubor et al (1995:1) answered this by saying that “ of all the media of communication, the motion picture has perhaps the most universal appeal and impact; a film can rise above the limitations of language, and cultural barriers by the power of its visual images, its use of music and sound effects and can succeed in conveying much the same message to audience of heterogeneous background”.

What is then the ideal that the themes in Nigerian home movies affect Nigerian culture Mere, Ada in Ikenga journal (1995:95) answered that; “traditionally the culture attach great importance to good moral living. In marriage contracts, in-laws vow not to participate in anti-social behavior towards each other. Hosts taste food presented to their visitors in demonstration of the absence of poison. The constant vindications of innocence in all aspects of social function results in the placement of a high premium on good moral and civil behaviour. In the society where relationships are on a personal intimate basis, societies which provide a system of checks and balance in behavior the culture of such a society of sanctions that limit overt deviant behavior are status determinants in Igbo society.” The above-enumerated rich culture of Nigeria is hardly portrayed in Nigerian movies, even in films minded people whose main pre-occupation are drinks and girls. Their needs are simple and easily satisfied by cast off clothes scavenged from the dustbin. When he is bullied or robbed, it is by his own type; and as a group, easily resorts to violence in which crude weapons are used. That was why Aig-Imoukhuede (1985:49) revealed that “thirty years ago, Nigerian nationalist, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, led a protest against sanders of the river for its negative portrayal of the black man”. Arologun (1995:54) also laments that “today gangster films constitute about (80%) eighty percent of what we see on our cinema screens.

In late fifties Ekotodo, a cinema house in Ibadan was infested with young men dressed in jeans and hats with scarves tied around their necks like the cowboy in American westerns films. Like the John Wayne type of the “wild, wild” west series on television. How did those men come about their dresses and occasional pranks? It was through the influences of films shown in theatres in Lagos and Ibadan. In fact Ekotodo soon became a den of robbers, street fighters and rascals”. The present wave of violence, robbery and murder committed daily in Nigeria is likely to have been influenced by films own in home movies. This study therefore, will investigate these trends of negative themes in Nigerian home movies especially the under listed four selected movies; ZOZA, STREET FAME, THE DOGS MEETING, BEFORE THE RAIN

1.2 Statement Of Research Problem

Nigerian home movies assumed a lot of important in the area of entertainment and cultural transmission. This explains the time audience (both children and adults) spend watching movies in their homes or their frequent visit to video clubs.

The behavioural pattern of people is formed by different factors in their environment. Home movies have entered as a novel part of the environment that has an over-powering influence since many of these Nigerian movies embody that tradition and culture of Nigerian if they are not of high technical or moral quality, they will influence their audience negatively.

Those who do not have fair knowledge of the ideal culture are bound to imbibe the negative aspect unconsciously. Also the viewing of these movies will make people believe such practices as the culture or way of life of the people.
Thus, the central problem of this research study is to ascertain how the Trends of negative themes in Nigerian home movies affect the Nigerian culture and influence it negatively.

1.3 Objective Of The Study

  1. To ascertain the extent to which the trends of themes in Nigeria home movies affect the Nigerian
  2. To determine if what is watched by the researcher is believed to be the ideal cultural practice of Nigeria.
  3. To know if the contents of such movies are imbibed by both young and adult viewers.
  4. To determine how to improve such situations.

1.4 Significance Of The Study

Home movies as agents of cultural change have both audio and visual effects. These effects bring about attitude and behavior change.

This research study intends to investigate the cause of these trends of negative themes in Nigerian home movies.

The study will be useful in identifying the extent to which home videos flooding the market despoil the true fabrics of the Nigerian culture.

It is, therefore, anticipated that the study will be useful to all those that watch Nigerian home movies.

It will also help to instruct producers to be conscious of the negative influences on younger generation and offer solutions to better ways of presentation of the cultural contents of Nigerian movies.

Finally the study would be useful to the government, movie industries, communication experts, students, researchers as well as parents in many ways.

1.5 Research Question

  1. What themes do Nigerian home movies present?
  2. Do the setting of Nigerian home movies affect them negatively
  3. Are Nigerian home movies more concern with negative themes?
  4. Do Nigerian home movies portray Nigerian culture negatively?

1.6 Research Hypotheses

  1. H1: The negative themes in Nigerian home movies affect Nigerian culture.
    H0: The negative themes in Nigerian home movies do not affect Nigerian culture.
  2. H1: The negative portrayal of Nigerian culture by Nigeria home movies make people imbibe the negative practice as ideal culture.
    H0: The negative portrayal of Nigerian culture by Nigeria home movies do not make people imbibe the negative practice as ideal culture.
  3. H1: The trends of negative themes in Nigerian home movies affect Nigerian culture
    H0: The trends of negative themes in Nigerian home movies do not affect Nigerian culture
  4. H1: The setting of Nigerian home movies affect Nigerian culture negatively.
    H0: The setting of Nigerian home movies do not affect Nigerian culture negatively.

1.7 Definition Of Terms

  • Conceptual: A general direction in which a situation is changing or developing.
  • Operational: The fast development of negative themes in Nigerian culture.
  • Conceptual: Power to affect somebody’s character belief or action through examples, fear and admiration.
  • Operational: Absence of expression of positive character of Nigerian culture by Nigerian home movies.
  • Conceptual: The subject or main idea in a talk, piece of writing or work of art.
  • Operational: They are the negative themes portray in Nigerian home movies
  • Conceptual: Improvement of mental faculties refined taste or judgment high intellectual and aesthetic development. State of intellectual, artistic, and social development of a group, type and degree of civilization. Social group characterized by a specified level of material achievements.
  • Operational: The way of life, belief systems, habits and practices of the Igbo.
  • Conceptual: Motion pictures, cinema or films of substance for taking a photograph or a ribbon of celluloid or the like prepared with such a fine coating for taking instantaneous photographs for projection by cinematography.
  • Operational: The home movies- Zoza, Before the rain, Street fame, The dogs meeting.


That the Nigerian viewing public both adults and youth watch local movies. That the youth as well as adults could unconsciously imbibe what they see especially the negative aspects as current and old practices of the culture. That Nigerian home movie tends to influence the culture of Nigeria negatively.

1.9 Scope/ Limitations Of The Study

This study is limited to be studied under the content of four selected Nigerian home movies; ZOZA, BEFORE THE RAIN, THE DOGS MEETING, STREET FAME. Due to time and financial constraints, the researcher could not go the extra mile to incorporate to watch all the movies that produced in Nigeria.

Trends And Effects Of Negative Themes In Nigerian Home Movies

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