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Nollywood Goes Gritty

Once Nollywood might have meant films that were low budget and high drama and aimed mostly at a West African audience. But Nigerian cinema has evolved and this year a slew of new film-makers are tackling grittier subjects – and winning international acclaim. A roster of screenings at autumn’s Film Africa festival in London reveal directors unafraid to look at issues such as gender equality, postnatal depression and transatlantic migration. Running until 8 November, and available to view online, Film Africa opens with The Ghost and the House of Truth, which follows a counsellor working with convicts who must learn to forgive her own daughter’s killer. Other issues such as female infertility and religious fanaticism are explored in a series of short narratives also hailing from Nigeria. Where it once centred on simplistic tropes such as good v evil, Nollywood has evolved to take on broader issues, says director Chuko Esiri, whose debut film Eyimofe (This Is My Desire) – a tale of two Nigerians who believe their lives will be better in Europe – premiered at this year’s Berlin film festival.