Ritual culture phenomenon in Igbo films: a study of Money is Money
Film as a means of communication is a very potent instrument for image making, cultural diplomacy, propaganda, education, information and entertainment. The Nigerian film industry (Nollywood) ranks among the first three top world filmmaking industries in terms of the quantity of productions, popularity amongst Nigerians and the transnational audiences. Culture is the bedrock of Nollywood’s thematic film expositions. One can, therefore, conclude that Nollywood is Nigeria’s cultural ambassador. Although Nollywood films are quite potent in celebrating and promoting Nigerian cultures, some of these films have come under thematic criticisms as they glamourize negative, ritual themes in the name of culture. It is against this backdrop that this article examines the occult ritual of cultural phenomenon in Prince Emeka Ani’s Money is Money (2005) and the negative image it portends for Nigeria globally. The film depicts Andy (Kanayo O. Kanayo), an Igbo youth who deploys occult means as an instrument for making money even at the cost of his life. This paper uses content analysis and literary methods as tools to interrogate the preponderance of the occult themes in Nollywood movies. The findings show that Nigeria has several acceptable cultures as raw materials that could positively portray Nigeria’s cultures globally. However, the unceasing preoccupation with “juju”, the relentless celebration of dark rituals and diabolical cults could make viewers cultivate the perception of reality portrayed by these films. Money is Money celebrates the non-attractive side of Nigeria. Therefore, it is recommended that the Nollywood film professionals tell the global audience acceptable culturally based value themes about Nigeria.
Keywords: Igboland, Ritual culture, Nollywood film professionals, Igbo film, Nigerian cultures