PROGRES.ID- A Nigerian action-thriller film titled “The Black Book” has broken streaming records on the Netflix platform worldwide. The movie tells a tense story of corruption and police brutality in Africa’s most populous nation. Its success reflects the rapid growth of the Nigerian film industry.
Over the past three weeks, “The Black Book” has become one of the top 10 English-language films on this global streaming platform. In fact, during its second week, the film reached the impressive position of third place. Just 48 hours after its release on September 22, the film garnered the attention of 5.6 million viewers.
In its second week, the movie made its way into the top 10 films in 69 different countries.
According to Editi Effiong, the film’s producer, “Movies are made for audiences, and the more extensive the audience, the higher the likelihood that your message gets across.” He added that, “In reality, we are making a film made by Nigerians, funded by Nigerians, and it’s going global.”
Nollywood Goes Global
The Nigerian film industry, famously known as Nollywood, has been a global phenomenon since the 1990s. Films like “Living in Bondage” brought Nollywood to prominence, and recent releases like “Aníkúlápó,” which came out in 2022, achieved global popularity on Netflix.
Nollywood is the second-largest film industry in the world in terms of production volume, after India, producing approximately 2,000 films each year.
“The Black Book” is a $1 million film supported by experts and founders within Nigeria’s technology ecosystem. It marks the big-screen debut for Editi Effiong.
The film portrays the turmoil in Nigeria over a span of 40 years, detailing the brutality and arbitrary arrests carried out by the military regime against dissenters. Even today, police brutality and abuse of power continue to be prevalent.
The film’s story begins with the kidnapping of a family member of Nigeria’s oil regulatory chief, involving corrupt police officers working for prominent politicians. To cover their tracks, the police kill a young man falsely accused of being the kidnapper, unaware that he is the son of a former special agent who left his dark past behind.
In the past, the former officer, now a priest named Paul Edima and played by Richard Mofe-Damijo, was known as the “most dangerous man” in Nigeria. However, he repented and turned a new leaf, inspired by his favorite Bible verse, 1 Corinthians 5:17. But the death of his son compels him to seek revenge, pursuing the individuals responsible for his son’s death, including a general who turns out to be his former superior.
The film emphasizes the issue of delayed justice in Nigeria, a significant concern. Many are still seeking justice for victims of police brutality, suggesting that Nigeria needs to better understand its history.
The film has also drawn comparisons to the American action film “John Wick,” a praise that underscores its success.
Additionally, the film highlights the potential of the film industry in Nigeria and across Africa. According to Digital TV Research, the video-on-demand streaming (SVOD) market in Africa is estimated to grow to 18 million subscribers, up from the current 8 million.
Netflix, as a leading streaming platform, remains committed to local and diverse content in sub-Saharan Africa.
Editi Effiong emphasizes that the Nigerian film industry is at a point where it demands global attention, and “The Black Book” serves as an example of a Nigerian-made film that will achieve global popularity, with all its elements stemming from the black community.