Publication Date



Open access

Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)


Communication Studies (Communication)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

William Rothman

Second Committee Member

Christina Lane

Third Committee Member

Anthony Allegro

Fourth Committee Member

Edmund Abaka


Focusing on a selection of Nigerian video films— Living in Bondage (1992), Osuofia in London (2003), Saworoide (1999), Arugba (2010), Sitanda (2006), and Slave Warrior (2006)—and informed by in-depth interviews with four producer-directors, this dissertation establishes a model for combining industry contextualization with close shot by shot critical textual analysis in order to study products of Nollywood as individual films or works of art rather than solely as part of a phenomenon. After identifying an “arm’s length approach” in scholarship about Nollywood, a trend which identifies the video film revolution’s importance but does not incorporate close analysis of the films themselves, an “excess-exhortation” model is theorized, combining Larkin’s aesthetics of outrage with Adesokan’s aesthetics of exhortation, a union demonstrating the developing pattern of the creation of excess being mitigated with an exhortatory or didactic sequence which serves to then re-emphasize cultural or religious beliefs. In addition to conceptualizing this excess-exhortation model as a prototypical pattern exemplified by the landmark Living in Bondage, the employment of reflexive techniques, narrative structure, cinematography, editing, and sound in Osuofia in London, Saworoide, Arugba, and Sitanda will be focused on as an instrument of meaning creation in a manner seldom associated with Nigerian video films. Furthermore, Saworoide and Arugba are contextualized as important and sophisticated films by Tunde Kelani which demonstrate the producer-director’s artistry as an extension of his Yoruba culture. Finally, Slave Warrior is analyzed and situated as a Nigerian Diaspora film which combines realist and anti-realist aesthetics and challenges spatio-temporal conventions.


Nigerian film; Nollywood; Tunde Kelani; Oliver Mbamara; excess-exhortation