Enthralling cinematography. Immersive dialogue. Tightly woven plots. Carefully considered storytelling. Cultural relevance. That sounds like one – and more – masterpiece from Kunle Afolayan and we absolutely love to see it. The award-winning Nigerian filmmaker, known for writing, directing, producing, and sometimes acting in some of Nigeria’s most impressive works of visual art has released the teaser for another film ‘Citation‘, that already looks like a stunning piece of work.
From what we can tell from the teaser, which has first-time actors like Temi Otedola, Chairman, Board of Directors, First Bank, Ibukun Awosika, as well as seasoned acts like Joke Silva, Ini Edo, Jimmy-Jean Louis, the film is based on a female Nigerian student’s ordeal with sexual assault in a Nigerian university.
If you, like us, have been religiously following the making of this movie, well documented on Kunle Afolayan’s Instagram page, then you would know why we are excited that this movie is almost here. But as excited as we are, there is the looming sense of not knowing how ‘Citation’ will handle this socially pertinent issue of sexual assault. This is a problem especially rife in Nigeria’s heavily patriarchal cultural setting. One that has been normalised and twisted low enough to slink away from the eyes of justice.
A series of questions come to mind when considering ‘Citation’.
How will this film approach its central theme of sexual assault? What illustration will it cast on the nuanced and diverse ways sexual assault actually appears in real life? Will it toe the line of Nollywood’s unidirectional understanding of how sexual assault and the dynamics of social power functions? Or will it dare to show viewers a different way by which sexual assault can manifest? How would it highlight the importance of allyship towards victims? And most importantly, who will be blamed? Will the power dynamics, the major influencer of this heinous behaviour be interrogated? Again, who will be blamed?
These questions are made even more urgent because of the time we are in and as we wait for the film’s release, we hope it gives us progressive answers. We hope it shifts the blame and reflects the unbalanced scales of power involved in cases of sexual assault.
We hope this movie breaks the curse of Nollywood movies that seek to absolve rapists and provide victims no justice.
Watch the trailer below:
Nelson C.J is a culture writer with works in The New York Times, Xtra Magazine, OkayAfrica, Black Youth Project, AfroPunk, and a few other spaces. You can find him saving dog pictures on Twitter.