Film Review: Reasons to watch Nigerian film Citation on Netflix

Nollywood Citation

Imagine a young lady barely out of her teenage years , entangled in a sexual assault incident involving her lecturer. 

Moremi Oluwa (Temi Otedola), is a child prodigy who only desires to excel academically and to work for the United Nations. She suddenly finds herself embroiled in a sexual assault scandal and becomes a poster-child for a sexual assault hearing between a student and faculty staff member. 

Moremi’s fondness and admiration for her world renowned lecturer, Professor Lucien (Jimmy Jean-Louis), lays the ground for the scandal. To some onlookers (especially her coursemates), it looked as though she might have initiated an affair with her lecturer. Her own boyfriend even had concerns and strongly warned her against associating with the professor. 

With no witnesses or video evidence of the impending assault it all boiled down to a case of ‘her word’ against a renowned academician. Who will believe her? Her boyfriend? Her course mates? 

You can find out by watching Citation (no spoilers here lol).

My Two Cents

Personally, I think it’s refreshing to see a Nigerian student take on a predatory faculty staff in this manner even if it is only in the movies. Sex for grades is pretty common in the Nigerian University system and it’s so sad that so many lives have been ruined by those who are supposed to know better.

So many lecturers get away with this heinous crime especially because most students (victims really) lack the resources and the support to fight back, so most choose to remain silent. It is a common pattern that continues till this very day!

Also, in Nigeria, female victims of sexual assault are often judged first and the harshest. The stigma from just reporting an incident alone causes a lot of ladies not to speak out. 

In contrast, our protagonist in this film receives a lot of support from different people in this film including council and moral support from someone from the Ajike Advocacy group, played by Joke Silva.  Sometimes, this is all that is required to help more young ladies come forward and proceed with legal charges rather than take matters into their own hands as we saw in the opening scenes.

I really enjoyed the movie although I found myself skipping some parts that were dragging on for too long. Plus there were scenes that felt like part of a tourist destination video, but I guess, it all adds to the appeal of the movie.  As someone who grew up in the Nigerian schooling system, I felt her anguish and could totally relate at times.  It is a great awareness movie to a dark culture on the Nigerian Academic scene. 

Kunle Afolayan once again, teams up with Tunde Babalola, as the Director and writer duo seem to be on a crusade to produce socially conscious films.  With a string of socio-political dramas under their belt, including ‘October 1st’ (Colonial British rule in Nigeria), ‘Mokalik’ (celebrating mechanic apprenticeship) and ‘Diamonds in The Sky’ (a film on female reproductive health), Citation fits nicely into their catalog of films together.

For an acting debut, Temi Otedola brought her ‘A’ game.  Even though she was given a difficult task of switching between 3 different languages (English/French /Yoruba), her mastery, although not perfect, still it brought a warmth and innocence to the character she was portraying. I do hope to see more of her on the big screens.

Director – Kunle Afolayan

Screenplay – Tunde Babalola

Jimmy Jean-Louis Prof. Lucien N’Dyare
Temi OtedolaMoremi
Adjetey AnangKwesi
Gabriel AfolayanKoyejo
Ini EdoGloria
Joke SilvaAngela
Bukunmi OluwashinaUzoamaka
Ratings

For having a great cast, especially for taking a chance by casting an acing debutant as lead, for the film topic (which is still very important in Nigeria) and for the great cinematography alone I would rate this movie a strong 7 out of 10. As explained earlier there were some unnecessary scenes that had to be fast forwarded, so for that I  deducted 3 marks. Overall a great watch and suitable for young adult audience or children under parental guidance as there are teachable moments in the handful of mildly graphic scenes.

7/10
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