According to the Department of Film Censorship and Classification, Nollywood has produced only 280 movies in the first quarter of 2023. Quite a drastic reduction for a film industry that releases movies like NEPA withholds light. We weren’t the world’s second largest film producer for nothing.
There’s more focus on improving quality and reducing output now — we’ve been blown away, thrilled and dipped in all sorts of emotions due to the highly impressive movies Nollywood has produced in 2023 — full-length and short films, these are the best ones so far.
Gangs of Lagos
If you’re looking for an original Nigerian crime and thriller flick, this is the one for you. It’s in the same collection with the likes of Saworoide, King of Boys and others with underlining of social commentary. You’re in for a story about family, loyalty, leadership and filled with packed action. Hope the sight of blood and gang activities won’t scare you away sha?
Inspired by true events; a tale of greed and terror. As the story unfolds, we witness the high-stakes game of cat and mouse, set in Lagos, between a determined law enforcement officer and a cunning kidnapper terrorizing the Southern parts of Nigeria. Word on the street is The Trade is a movie adaptation of a popular Nigerian kidnapper who was arrested in 2017.
There are no lacklustre fight scenes, just intense suspense, believable Naija violence and a gripping story. The film earns Blossom Chukwujekwu a top contender spot for best actor of 2023.
This movie made me shed a few gangsta tears when I watched it. A single mom zealously fights for her two kids when their deadbeat dad tries to win them over after being absent in their lives. Using his wealth and influence to entice the children instead of seeking penance and establishing connection with them, their furious mother swings into action to detach them from a man who never loved them in the first place.
The acting performances by our faves like Kehinde Bankole, Deyemi Okanlawon, Bisola Aiyeola, etc. were striking. Many people say it’s the best Nigerian film they’ve seen in a while.
Love In A Pandemic
In 2020, COVID-19 shut down everywhere and kept us in our homes. Even though the lockdown curbed our movements, it didn’t stop some people from finding true love. Bolanle (Nancy Isime), in an attempt to apologise to her boyfriend about a fight , dialled a wrong number belonging to Alex (Deyemi Okanlawon). The call to a stranger becomes a routine and feelings get involved but the pandemic is in their way. If you need something to convince you that your boyfriend shouldn’t stop you from meeting your true love, Love In A Pandemic is the answer.
Boy Meets Girl
This experimental short film closely follows Musa, a 15 year old lad who had a terrifying, life-changing experience with a young girl on a bus. Boy Meets Girl is filled with undertones of the abducted Chibok Girls, underperforming government and failed security system. Shooting the movie in Gamboru, Borno State, feels intentional and noteworthy, hitting too close to home. You can’t miss out on this one.
Nkemakonam has an incredible storyline and captivating themes of motherhood, premarital pregnancy and castigation, creating more conversations around this common issue that has minimal social awareness. A young girl is cast aside by her community after getting pregnant, leading her to deliver her baby herself. This is one of the best Nollywood productions so far this year, the acting, pacing and cinematography are nothing short of amazing.
In a bid to japa from Nigeria to Belgium and give herself and her daughter a better life, Omozi falls into the trap of human traffickers. The people she was supposed to link with and travel together turned out to be the traffickers, shipping her to Malaysia and Joyful, her little daughter to Libya. Although quite intriguing and sad, Omozi is an important watch.
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