Hits & Misses of 2017 AMVCA Best Overall Movie, ‘76

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Movie Review  by Isabella Akinseye

Ramsey Nouah and Rita Dominic deliver a powerful performance in Izu Ojukwu’s period film, ‘76. As Captain Dewa and Suzy, we follow the story of Nigeria’s failed coup of 1976 through their eyes. Set mainly in an army barracks, the film is beautifully textured and evokes feelings of nostalgia through its art direction, costume and makeup.

A painted steel pot with Nigeria’s founding fathers, a basket wig-holder, Crittall Hope windows and old Naira notes all help in recreating the period. The tumultuous events leading to the assassination of the head of state, Murtala Mohammed is mirrored in the domestic tension faced by Dewa and a heavily pregnant Suzy. The film succeeds in giving viewers an entertaining history lesson but the intensity of the action is sometimes lost through long dialogue. An example of this is where Angela (Ibinabo Fiberesima), Dewa’s sister gives a back-story that ends up slowing the pace of the film.

More work in the research department would have meant that ‘Ladies Night’ by Kool and The Gang (released in 1979) did not feature in the soundtrack. Nonetheless, ‘76 is a worthy and commendable effort by Ojukwu, and sets new standards not just for Nollywood but African cinema.

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