Have you ever watched a movie that made you cry, scream, or feel depressed? Or movies that changed the way you see the world and the people in it? Few things have shaped our society more than the movies we watch and the media we consume. Because of the level of emotion movies incite in the attentive viewers, movies serve as the windows that give us a glimpse into what the world looks like or what it should look like. This heavy emotional investment makes us to unconsciously perceive movies as a part of reality.
As Hollywood represents the film industry in the United States; Nollywood represents the film industry in Nigeria; the largest in Africa and the second largest film industry in the world in terms of output. In this video, we’ll talk about some of the damaging misconceptions the Nollywood film industry has created in our society. Before we get to it, I’ll like to invite you to subscribe to After School TV and hit the notification bell to get notified when we publish more insightful videos like this.
1. To go from rag to riches, you have to discover a bag of money in an uncompleted building
Or you have to meet Paulo, a long lost friend who is now super rich; who then introduces you to a secret cult where you have to sacrifice someone you love to become rich. Or you have to help the pretty daughter of a wealthy man, whose car broke down in the middle of the road; who is staring clueless at the engine with the bonnet open. By the way you have to be an expert at fixing cars within 5 minutes, no matter what the problem is. Or you just have to win a lottery. Whatever the over-used storyline, the bottom-line is that, your road to wealth has no relationship with how you live your life. You just have to suffer a lot; then meet your destiny helper.
It’s not hard to see how this over flogged storyline in Nollywood movies has infiltrated the mindset in our society. Many people no longer believe in the law of growth which requires starting from a seed and nurturing it with hard and smart work until it grows. They are either waiting for their destiny helper or looking for shortcuts to jump into riches. The reality is that, the chance of you stumbling upon wealth is probably like one in a million. You’ve got to work your way up.
2. Every problem has a supernatural root
Someone dies out of negligence or poor infrastructure, and we attribute it to a spiritual problem. Someone doesn’t get a job 3 years after graduating college because of their entitlement mentality; it’s because of a wicked uncle from your village. Someone falls sick because of a bacteria and it’s the work of the enemy.
I’m a Christian and hold my Christian faith to heart but I believe many of our problems in life are our fault; individually and collectively. For example, compare the statistics of people dying by road accident in your country with another country. Is the stack difference the fault of our uncles and aunties in the village or is it because of lack of value for human lives; which translates to settling for less than substandard and poor infrastructure?
Is the solution to all our problems ‘God will help us?’ Will God do for us what He had empowered us to do for ourselves? Is the human creative ability so handicapped that we cannot think our way through the problems we face? If God’s design is to do everything for us, then what is the purpose of our ability to think? Generally, Nollywood movies have done a terrible job at representing our ability to think and act our way through life. The reality is that most of our problems are ours to fix; they are not supernatural problems.
3. Meeting a pastor is the solution to every problem
This is an extension of the previous point that every problem has a supernatural root. So the solution to every problem is to see a pastor. The pastor is the alpha and omega of solutions. He is the man with infinite power to fix every problem. So whatever life is throwing at you, just have that friend who will introduce you to a powerful man of god and all your problems will be over; whatever that problem may be.
One thing people, especially Christians, often fail to understand is that being a religious person or a well behaved person doesn’t mean that bad things will not happen to you. Or that the essence of Christianity is to have a problem-free life. These set of people think that if they are facing any difficulties in life, something must be wrong externally; hence the reason to see the ‘powerful man of God’ that will break the yoke. Contrary to what Nollywood movies want us to believe, the pastor does not have solution to all your problems. It’s simple as that. You are better off building your spiritual life than running after a man of god.
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4. Bad People are bad in every way
In reality bad things happen to good people; good things happen to bad people. It goes both ways. In fact, in reality, the people you consider as bad people are often every day people who love and care for their family and loved ones. The politician that embezzled the funds meant to construct the road that has claimed hundreds of lives, is someone’s dad, uncle, brother and friend. He may be paying the school fees of his nephews and nieces, and donating to charity. Bad people don’t go about looking like monsters. Two good people can make a bad marriage. A good father can be a bad public servant. In other words, there is not stereotypical description of a bad person.
One way this misconception has screwed mindsets is how people perceive politicians. People generally believe that people are either good or bad. So if you are caught doing something believed to be good, you are a good person; if you are caught doing something believed to be bad, you are a bad person. Politicians take pictures of themselves roasting corn on the roadside or eating with school children to show that they are down to earth and identify with the masses. And people easily fall for this gimmick. In reality, people are not always good or bad. People can do good things as well as bad things.
5. Life is all about a happy ending
You know how every nollywood movie with in-fighting always ends with hugs and tears, as the wicked uncle confesses and dies. The reality is that live comes with ups and downs. There are no happily ever after. Once one obstacle is overcome, a bigger one emerges. There is no destination except in death. As long as we are alive, the journey continues. I’m sure you already understand this one. So let’s move on.
6. Killing the Villain Ends the Problem
This misconception is the norm in virtually every film industry the world over. It’s easy to tell the good guys and the bad guys in the movies; a narrative that feeds our desire to see things as black or white; good or bad. The movies often end with the good guy – the hero defeating the villain. Once the villain is gone all the problems goes with him.
The Animal Farm, a book by George Orwell, gives a better description of what reality looks like. The animals in the farm believed that overcoming the tyrant farm owners will solve all their problems. They succeeded in taking out the humans and gained the freedom they yield for. But that freedom didn’t last as their own kind soon became the tyrant they once had in the humans.
Libyans thought that killing Gadaffi would fix their problem; Egyptians thought that taking out Mubarak would solve their problems. But the struggle continues. In fact in death, some people began to rethink their perception of these supposed villains.
We see life either as a liberal or conservative; democrat or republican. One is good and the other is evil. So in other to make progress we have to take out the opponent. This is only practical in sports but rarely the case in reality. Until you take responsibility for your life, there will always be a villain.
What other misconceptions about reality have you noticed repeatedly from the movies? Let’s hear your thoughts in the comment section. Until next time, YOUR SUCCESS MATTERS!