Note: The following article contains discussions of rape and sexual harassment that some readers may find discomforting.
Directed by renowned Nigerian filmmaker Kunle Afolayan and written by Tunde Babalola, ‘Citation’, the latest release from Netflix Naija is a must watch. It is loosely based on true events and is inspired by BBC Africa’s ‘sex for grades’ documentary.
The long overdue 60-minute documentary that was released on the 8th of October 2019, exposing several African lecturers involved in sexually harassing students for grades.
I fell in love with the movie just by watching the trailer, because it was about time Nollywood started making films about sexual assault. Then again, I was also excited to watch Temi Otedola in her acting debut. The movie focuses on the life of Moremi, played by Temi. A young postgraduate student at Obafemi Awolowo University.
Breakdown Of The Movie
Moremi meets Professor Lucien N’dyare (Jimmy Jean Louis), a smooth-talking, calculative abuser who also happens to be her lecturer. He attempts to rape Moremi after getting close to her and luring her away from the people closest to her. The movie follows Moremi on her quest to convince the University the truth that is her story.
The movie speaks on manipulation, trust, and taking accountability. It shows us what it’s like for sexual assault victims when they speak up. What Nollywood movie have you ever seen that talks about this?
Nollywood Needs To Do More
Many Nollywood movies I watched growing up punished women for being bold and confident. Male characters on the other hand were misogynistic, and they were praised for it. In fact, if any male character behaved decent and respectful to women, they were mocked by other male characters.
In so many other movies, female characters who were raped or sexually assaulted were persuaded to forgive their rapists. Thankfully, times have changed now and some Nollywood movies are highlighting societal issues.
While some progress is being made, a lot still needs to be done in telling sexual assault stories, because it is very common.
Citation Is A Significant Film That Tells An Important Story
Citation is an important movie because the sexual assault story itself is the focus of the film. Over the years, some Nollywood movies have highlighted university lecturers demanding sex from female students in exchange for good grades, and in the cases where the student gives into the lecturer’s offer, the movies always tend to put the fault on the student instead of focusing on the professor who was the initiator and assaulter.
I’m hoping Citation sets an example of how sexual assault stories should be told moving forward.
I admit that some scenes were unnecessary (honestly, the movie did not need to be 2 hours long). The scene where Moremi first met her boyfriend Koyejo, was very cringe to watch. I was so embarrassed. Moremi’s Yoruba was really cute, but unrealistic. And why did they make her so clean ? I sometimes forgot she was supposed to be a student at Obafemi Awolowo University, and not a student at the University of Arts in London.
Ultimately it’s a good watch. It will be great to watch Nollywood movies follow suit.
We really do need more movies that discuss issues like this in our country and society, as people are directly and indirectly affected by the main plot of the movie; sexual harassment. There are way too many stories of sexual harassment by lecturers in higher institutions and something needs to be done to stop this horrible cycle.
Towards the end of the movie, I was really blown away by how the Professor Lucien N’dyare manipulated his way into Moremi’s life. It was beyond appalling to see how he had also sexually assaulted other female students. I mean, I was shocked but not surprised.
Overall it was an amazing watch. It made me rethink situations I’ve been in, as well as conversations and relationships I’ve had with people.
Citation is available to watch now on Netflix.
Watch the trailer here: