Wikipedia defines “film” as a work of visual art that simulates experiences and communicates ideas, stories, perceptions, feelings, beauty, or atmosphere through moving images. Being a huge film lover, if I had to give a simple definition of what films are, I would say, “Films are where dreams become a reality.”
Film, like any work of art, is a medium for creative expression and, as such, speaks to the audience and is capable of facilitating dialogue, therefore impacting contemporary culture. It provides entertainment and historical value, and its visual basis makes it a powerful communication tool, influencing habits or choices. While watching American high school films, I developed the habit of reading while listening to music.
Although I have always been a film lover, I did not watch contemporary Nollywood (Nigeria’s film industry) films until 2019 when the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the National Orientation Agency (NOA), Junior Chambers International (JCI), and Enough is Enough (EiE) Nigeria partnered with Nigerian film producers, Griot Studios Limited and Amateur Heads Productions to screen the political thriller, “4th Republic” in specific host communities of which my school, the University of Nigeria, was part.
I was so impressed by the film’s plot development and overall quality that I decided to begin watching Nollywood films. My close friends would tease me by saying I did not find Nollywood films too interesting because I had watched too much Hollywood. While this might have been a valid argument, I would always say that whenever I saw any film that impressed me, I wouldn’t hesitate to say it, whether it was Hollywood or Nollywood. It is exhilarating to say that I have seen such impressive Nollywood films: King of Boys: The Return of the King, Living in Bondage: Breaking Free, Rattlesnake: The Ahanna Story, and others.
There is no gainsaying the quality of films in Nollywood has greatly improved. While 2022 has seen blockbusters like Blood Sisters, The Man of God, Glamour Girls, King of Thieves and more, one film stands out for me — Breaded Life.
The Biodun Stephen-directed romantic comedy film is my favourite of the year, and for good reasons. It was the first ever Nollywood film whose review I read before watching and found worthy of my time. I have seen a few other films based on reviews but which fell short of my expectations — either the review gave high praise for a below-par film, or it gave praise which was not commensurate to the quality of the film.
I think the major reason why this film stands out for me is that it inspired a major change in my career path. I mean, just like the lead character, Sunmi (Timini Egbuson), I, too, needed to move out of my comfort zone. I have always been one who loved films and shared my opinion on the subject with friends. It was more like me recommending films when a friend needed something to watch. Despite the calls from a few close friends to put my voice out there, I still felt like it was not my time.
Do you know how Sunmi felt when he woke to discover nobody remembered him? That is how I felt about venturing into film journalism (I had no idea this was what it was called at the time). The thought in my head was always, “Who’d even listen to me?”
Breaded Life gave me what I needed to start and build my belief in Nollywood as a dynamic industry with lots of potential. I came to appreciate Nollywood more and began to think of how much credit our amazing filmmakers deserve for their beautiful work despite people like me who prefer foreign films. This inspired me to write my first-ever review of a Nollywood film and launched me into the world of film journalism.
I like to put it this way: Breaded Life preached the gospel of Nollywood to me, I got converted, and I now have a mission to “go into the world and preach the gospel to every creature.”