Citation is a 2020 Nollywood movie directed by Kunle Afolayan and written by Tunde Babalola. The movie stars Jimmy Jean-Louis and Temi Otedola. If you haven’t heard of the name Kunle Afolayan, the perfect opportunity has just presented itself. The Nigerian born director is notable as one of the pioneers of cinema in the African Film Industry. His film credits include Figurine, Mokalik, Phone Swap, and October 1st.
In 2019, Kiki Mordi and her BBC team released a groundbreaking report about university lecturers in Nigeria and Ghana who sexually assaulted their students. The report kick-started the uproar of heart-wrenching sexual stories on social media that mirrored the popular #MeToo movement.
Film director Kunle Afolayan inspired by these stories decided to make a movie about the topic.
Citation is centred on Moremi Oluwa, a postgraduate student who accuses her lecturer professor Lucien N’dyare of attempted rape. An academic panel was set up to hear both sides of the tale.
Moremi becomes the face of “speak up if someone rapes you or tries to”
This was the clear intended use of this film – to portray the beautiful side of sexual assault justice. Making it seem easy that the victims can get justice for lascivious acts attempted by wicked men. Don’t be fooled. There is an ugly side where the victim speaks up but doesn’t get justice. Rather she gets beat down by society and her future forever marred with that incident.
A spark of interest for this title was Temi Otedola taking the lead of the film as Moremi. Also, global streaming giant, Netflix acquired the film for some big bucks to stream exclusively on its platform. This signifies that the stream wars are slowly picking up here and Nollywood better buckle up.
Jimmy Jean Loius
Jimmy Jean Loius played Professor Lucien N’dyare. He did well, for the most part. Jimmy made his character believable as an academic legend and a predator of bright attractive students. We will not talk about the wig 🤷♂️😉
Temi Otedola played Moremi Oluwa, the postgraduate student with high potentials. This was her first venture into the world of acting. When this project was announced with her being the lead, everyone was quite surprised. Did she underperform? No. It was okay at best for a newbie actor. The director was able to make her deliver her lines consistently with good pacing. She. however, needs more work on transitioning into the character’s emotion if she wants to a formidable force.
Ibukun Awosika played the head professor of the panel that examined the sexual assault case. This was her first time for a special appearance in the film and did a beautiful job. One could argue that Mrs Awosika in reality was mirrored in the film, hence her nearly perfect job for the stern role. The individual who sought her out for casting deserves a raise.
Joke Silva played Angela, the lawyer from the Ajike NGO against sexual violence who represented Moremi on the panel . Mrs Silva has been a legend on the screen for more than two decades making her execution flawless and her delivery unforgettable. Her work easily shines brightly out from others in this film project.
Ini Edo brought Ini Edo to the screen. Her loud mannerism and tone injected some life into one or two otherwise ‘yawny’ scenes.
Gabriel Afolayan played the lover boy Koyejo in Citation. He is arguably one of the most underrated actors in Nollywood. Gabriel was able to spar well with the amateur Temi and give on-screen chemistry.
The karate scene where he was to beat his opponent for a black belt was also well choreographed. You could see his work ethic and dedication of paying attention to character development paying off for the film.
The principal photography of Citation was done at Obafemi Awolowo University. The University’s landmarks were explored in detail in this movie. Countries like Cape Verde and Senegal also made an appearance with dashing scenery. Over the years, Kunle’s cinematic works have been nothing short of spectacular. This was true for Citation.
An amateur filmmaker would have done a terrible job on the use of colours for this project. Events that do not follow a linear pattern is a huge challenge for colour grading. Kunle and his editor aced this. If they had failed, the film would have been a total disaster. So yes, this is a worthy accolade to point out.
Citation is a good film that was intended to have a social value proposition. Tunde Babaolo and Kunle Afolayan were able to perfectly deliver on this proposition with a few forgivable misses.
The runtime could have been shortened to give a tighter film. All in all, it gave a beautiful narrative that there is always justice for wicked acts of sexual harassment.