A round-up of our fav titles from African cinema this month.
Another month has come and gone, but the movie industry keeps on giving. Despite global upheavals, national uncertainty and personal stress, one thing is constant: new shows for television, new movies for the big screen. And while we enjoy the refreshing content and brand-new entertainment, the problem is that we often don’t know where to start.
So to help out a bit, we’ve combed through all the impressive titles African cinema had to offer this month and have chosen the best new movies and shows for you to watch as you journey into the ember months.
This month’s picks include a rousing boxing film from Netflix, a period drama piece about the post-civil war in Nigeria, a breezy Nollywood classic remake, a socially conscious film about social media’s adverse effects, and a charming indie.
Bad Comments (2021)
Directed by Moses Inwang, Bad Comments is a fast-paced fusion of drama and thriller, with a blend of momentary comedic reliefs. Inspired by true-life events, it mirrors the topsy-turvy celebrity life and how their careers can be at the mercy of propaganda circulated by social media trolls.
The film was released in cinemas on August 27th, and it follows the story of Frank Orji (Jim Iyke), a successful businessman who embarks on a revenge-thirsty journey after getting excessively bullied online. The project also stars popular Nollywood names like Chiwetalu Agu, Osas Ighodaro, Patience Ozokwo, Sharon Ooja, and Benjamin Touitou.
Five years after its release to the Nigerian audience in 2016, '76, a period piece directed by Izu Ojukwu, was acquired by Netflix in August 2021 to push the film to a broader audience.
Set six years after the Civil War, the story follows a young officer from the Middle Belt who gets into a romantic relationship with an O-level student from the South-eastern region. However, their relationship is strained by constant military postings. The soldier gets accused of being involved in the unsuccessful 1976 military coup and assassination of General Murtala Mohammed, and his heavily pregnant wife gets entangled in an emotional dilemma.
Currently streaming on Netflix, the historical drama fiction stars Ramsey Nouah, Chidi Mokeme, Rita Dominic, and Ibinabo Fiberesima.
IJE: The Journey (2010)
Much like '76, IJE: The Journey, a film released to critical acclaim in 2010, has a reputation that precedes it. This Chineze Anyaene-directed movie has bagged seven awards – including recognitions at the Las Vegas and Mexico International film festivals – and four other nominations since its release.
Released on Netflix this month, IJE follows the story of Chioma, a young woman who left Nigeria for the USA to help her sister, who was accused of killing three people, including her husband. She is determined to keep her from jail, but this requires the truth.
Nneka the Pretty Serpent (2020)
Nneka, the Pretty Serpent, is a 2020 remake of the 1994 horror mystery film of the same name, directed by Nigerian filmmaker Tosin Igho. Years after the mysterious murder of her parents, a traumatised woman gains supernatural powers that aid in her quest for revenge against the killers. If you saw this film in cinemas in 2020, you should definitely make plans to see it again as the project was said to have been remodeled in preparation for its Netflix release this month. While it still maintains the same storyline, some of the scenes were reshot in order to create a better viewing experience for a broader audience.
King of Boys: The Return of the King (2021)
Undoubtedly one of the most anticipated films in 2021, King of Boys: The Return of the King is Nigeria’s first original Netflix series directed by Kemi Adetiba. The sequel to the blockbuster 2018 film King of Boys, this iteration sees veteran actress Sola Sobowale reprise her role as Eniola Salami.
The seven-part limited series picks up with Salami’s triumphant comeback after a five-year exile. Her shocking return rattles the cage of her enemies, both old and new. She comes home to pick up the pieces after the deaths of her children, but with her once-trusted allies deserting her at her most vulnerable moment, she faces an even greater battle within herself for the redemption of her tortured soul.