From the dregs of antiquity and more specifically the jarring cinematic events of 2020, Nollywood’s risen (fiery phoenix style) in the past decade, churning out great movies by the dozen to become the 2nd largest movie industry in the world. You could actually dub the past 12 months ‘the year of Nollywood movies’. A little problem does come up, with all the great movies you can’t expect to see them all, or even where to start sometimes. We’ve curated this list to help you pick based on your preferences. Kinda like a colourful movie palette. There’s bound to be one or two you’ve watched or three or four you’ve maybe heard of. No? Well here’s 13 movies you should definitely watch; fire up the popcorn machine!
La Femme Anjola: Starting with this notable mention, director Mildred Okwo creates a masterpiece with this psychological thriller. The lives of the lead characters; Rita Dominic and Nonso Bassey, intertwine and take a suspenseful turn, an event they may soon regret. Other stars in the cast are Joke Silva, Femi Jacobs and Aderounmu Adejumoke tying script and vision together in brilliant union.
Listening Ears: Toyin Abraham Ajeyemi’s directorial debut stars popular actors like the stunning Kehinde Bankole, Chimezie Imo, Tomiwa Tegbe, and newcomers like Seyi Kayode, Okusanya Ololade, Adeherself, IsBae U. This fast-paced tragicomedy follows the life of a beautiful spinster who tries to find love but fails, not until it finds her in the most unlikely places. Check it out on Youtube.
Day of Destiny: Setting a lasting precedent for Nollywood’s science-fiction films is easy with this cinema unicorn. In vivid colour it tracks the enchanting adventure of two brothers who time travel 20 years back to change their family’s fortune for better–or worse. On the cast are Joe Mama, Olumide Oworu, Denola Grey, Toyin Abraham, Broda Shaggi and Jide Kosoko. Time usually waits for no one, unless you’ve already made plans to see this movie…then you have all the time in the world.
Quams Money: Starring natural comedian Folarin ‘Falz’ Falana, Quams Money shows the adventures of a security guard who strikes gold and turns multimillionaire, lives the good life and gets the girl? (Spoiler, he doesn’t hehe). This comedic film is actually a sequel but its plot can generally stand alone. Directed by Kayode Kasum, the star-studded cast features popular faces like Nse Ikpe-Etim, Michelle Dede, Toni Tones, Williams Uchemba, Karibi Fubara, and Buchi Ojieh. Watch Quams Money on Netflix or your nearest cinemas and enjoy over an hour of therapeutic laughing.
Ayinla: This biopic is based on the life of and final moments of Ayinla Yusuf aka Ayinla Omowura, a promising Apala musician. It shows his strengths and flaws with gripping accuracy at the same time paints in vivid detail life in 1980’s Abeokuta. Directed by Tunde Kelani, this is one for the books, the character of Ayinla is played by Lateef Adedimeji and he’s supported by Omowumi Dada, Bimbo Manuel, Ade Laoye, Kunle Afolayan and Mr Macaroni.
Still Falling: This is one film heavy set in the romantic-drama genre, its valentine day release date confirms the fact. Co-directed by Karachi Atiya and Dimbo Atiya, it stars Daniel Etim Effiong, Sharon Ooja, Kunle Remi, Liz Ameye, Bether Njoku, Eddy Madaki and a cameo appearance from Panam Percy Paul. The plot traces the experiences of the lead characters, a former couple, and their lovestruck reunion after a brief stint apart. Enjoy a passionate watch on Netflix with some popcorn or a partner.
Fine Wine: Another one to tug at your heartstrings, Fine Wine is a romantic comedy directed by Seyi Babatope. It’s the love story between two people of the most unlikely circumstances, as they battle family and society to defend their love. Starring movie giants like Richard Mofe-Damijo, Ego Nwosu, Zainab Balogun, Nse Ikpe-Etim, it’s a theatrical gem with many jaw dropping moments. A word of advice? Watch this movie with a partner (and a bottle of wine), you’ll tank me late.
Breaded Life: If you’re looking for classic rustic comedy, this is the one for you. Written and directed by Biodun Stephen, the movie’s set in the heart of Lagos and centered around a privileged young man’s ordeal when his world is suddenly set to spin one morning, leaving him completely unrecognizable to everyone but the local bread seller. In the cast are names like MC Lively, Bisola Aiyeola, Timini Egbuson, Bimbo Ademoye, Bolanle Ninalowo and Adedimeji Lateef. This one’s definitely gonna have you bent over, laughing though.
Ponzi: Written and directed by Kayode Kasum, this film is a dramedy based on the unfortunate events of the 2016 MMM Ponzi scheme. Starring Mawuli Gavor, the movie shows the travails of a talented lead character with money problems and his ingenious plot to change his dice that spirals out of control. Other notable names are Chinyere Wilfred, Jide Kosoko, Timini Egbuson, Tope Tedela, Broda Shaggi and Mr Macaroni. It’s a movie fit for the genre and easy to enjoy.
Sanitation Day: This film goes straight up the list of amazing crime thrillers in the industry. A gruesome murder leaves two ‘police officers’ perplexed as they struggle to solve the mystery before the crime scene’s wiped clean. Directed by Seyi Babatope, the film also features Blossom Chukwujekwu, Elozanam Ogbolu, Charles Inojie and Nse Ikpe-Etim.
Mamba’s Diamond: This comedy directed by Seyi Babatope, follows the story of two wannabe thieves who accidentally steal the world’s most valuable diamond and inadvertently fall under the malicious radar of the deadliest crime lord in the vicinity. Starring Gabriel Afolayan, Nse Ikpe-Etim, Osas Ighodaro, Uchemba Williams, Venita Akpofure and Jimmy Odukoya giving a stellar performance, it’s definitely worth some attention.
The Razz Guy: This mostly comedic dramedy directed by Udoka Oyeka, follows a rude senior executive whose attitude earns him a curse at the crucial moment of an international business merger. He must find a way to lift the curse and bag the deal or risk losing it all. With Lasisi Elenu as lead character, Nancy Isime, Omotunde Adebowale David, Frank Donga and Iretiola Doyle play more than fitting roles in this hilarious film.
Lockdown: Las on this list is a movie based off the events of 2014, and as a tribute to Stella Adedavoh this one film’s been long overdue. A small group of citizens find themselves infected with a deadly virus and quarantined in a hospital. In the heat of the moment tensions are high within and outside the hospital. The director does a commendable job tying the story together with the phenomenal cast; Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde, Tony Umez, Charles Awurum, Sola Sobowale and Chioma Akpotha. Another one for the history books.
Seen any movies in there? If you’ve made it this far you should definitely just go see La Femme Anjola right away and get it over with lol. Anyway share with your friends and fellow cinephiles. As many out there, enjoy as you partake of the cinematic experiences together. Bless.