Background of the study
The invention of photography as stated by Uwakwe (2010) played a big role in the history of film. Joseph Niepce was the first person to make practical use of a film and camera around 1816, though his images lasted for short time. But as regards motion picture, two people were noted to be trying to capture and portray motion between 1870s and 1880s. The first as explained by Hanson (2005) was Etienne – Jules Marey. Marey wanted to measure and transcribe motion, starting with blood and heart and then, moving on to how animals move. She succeeded in doing this. However, Biagi (2003) stated that in 1882, Marey perfected a photographic gun camera that could take 12 photographs on one plate, which happens to be the first photographic gun camera. British photographer, Eadweard Muybridge, was the second to capture the motion of animals on film. Both Marey and Muybridge had influence on Edison who is now credited with developing the motion picture industry in the United States of America. The real stage for the development of a projected image was set in 1877. Leland Stanford, the former California Governor, needed to win a bet he had made with a friend. Convinced that a horse in full gallop had all four feet off the ground, he had to prove it. He turned to Eadweard Muybridge, a known photographer of that time who worked on the problem for four years before arriving at a solution.
The lumiere Brothers, Louis and Auguste, made the next advance. In 1895, they patented their cinematograph, a device that both photographed and projected action, (Baran, 2002). Edison recognized the advantage of the cinematograph over his kinetoscope and invented the vitascope, a machine that projected moving pictures on a screen large enough for everybody in the theatre to view simultaneously.
Dominick (2002) stated that Edison’s and Lumiere brothers movies were largely reproductions of “weight lifters lifting, acrobats tumbling, jugglers juggling, babies eating etc and so with time, the novelty become less attractive for the audience. Edison porter, an Edison company cameraman saw that film could be a better storyteller with more artistic use of camera placement and editing. His 12 – minute “The Great Train Robbery” produced in 1903 was the first movie to use editing, intercutting of scenes, and a mobile camera to tell a relatively sophisticated tale.
In 1915, D.W Griffit released the “Birth of a Nation”. The 3-hour epic film took six weeks in rehearsal and nine weeks in shooting. Hanson(2005) said the film portrayed African Americans as nothing but beasts and in response to the ensuing controversy, two African American brothers, George and Noble Johnson made films that presented a more realistic and accurate presentation of the African Americans in the film titled “The Realization of Negro’s Ambition” (Dominick, 2002). Other landmark developments soon followed between 1914 and 1925, there were more than 1,500 percent increase for the cost of a feature film. This was also the period at which Hollywood came up with sound films. Although historians disagree on the first sound film, Warner Brothers are variously considered the first, and they are: “Don Juan, The Jazz singer and lights of New York” (Baran, 2002).
By 1927, many theatres were equipped and by 1939, “Gone with the wind” came with new Technicolor film. In 1941, Orson Welles directed “Citizen Kane” which some critics consider “the best American film ever made” (Dominick, 2002).
The cinema of Nigeria, often referred to informally as Nollywood, consists of films produced in Nigeria; its history dates back to as early as the late 19th century and into the colonial era in the early 20th century. The history and development of the Nigerian motion picture industry is sometimes generally classified in four main eras: the Colonial era, Golden Age, Video film era and the emerging New Nigerian cinema
The value of film as a medium of mass communication is esteemed all over the world. In Nigeria there are over one million audiences of home movies films who are affected in one way or the other, by the subjects treated in Nigerian films. These movies portray message that have Influence on the viewers, mostly, their mode of dressing. Movies hold a very special place in the culture of a people. “Movies, like books, are a culturally special medium…an important medium of cultural transmission (Baran, 2009). Studies show that movies contribute to socialization and the transmission of culture.
In contribution to this, Aldana (2004) submits that:
Movies are powerful instrument that can build or destroy a people’s culture due to its conversational nature. It also plays a role in the daily lives of men and women in the way they perceive and conceived themselves and in the way they conduct their own lives.”
O’Rork (2006) and Wogu (2008) argue that audiences are more likely to emulate models of behavior seen on the media if they expect to receive gratification from emulating another person. Behaviour is influenced not only by personal life of models but by those presented in the mass media”. O’ Rork (2006) analyses on media influence continue to show that the media have influence on the pattern of behaviour of its audience.
Okunna(1999), opines that because of their special power to affect the way people think, feel and behave, the mass media have been credited with incredible persuasive ability to change attitude and behaviour. Culturally, this media Influence could be in the area of language, behavioural response, pattern of eating and dressing. Since it has been established that film is a mass medium, it is proposed in this study that the home movie genre, which is the Nigerian local or indigenous films have Influence on the pattern of dressing of female students in Akwa Ibom State University. This supposition is hinged on the fact that Nigerian movies have gained wide followership among female students of Akwa Ibom State University.
Films have come a long way in Nigeria. Akpan (2002) notes that the arrival of film in Nigeria came with the colonial government that established a film unit as part of the information department. And this was inherited by Nigeria after independence and became part of the ministry of information. However, as Akpan notes further, the production of feature films in movie film format began in Nigeria in the late 1980s. Studies show that, the home movie, Living in bondage, released in 1992, set the stage for the Nigerian indigenous home movie industry, popularly known as Nollywood. This industry has continued to grow and explode to greater proportion such that it has pushed foreign media off the shelves of movie rental shops across Nigeria and other parts of Africa. (Uwakwe, 2010). Thus, Nollywood is the household name for Nigerian movie industry and which by definition, means Nigeria’s movie industry by Nigerian production team for the Nigerian audience.
Media and cultural researchers have noted that dressing is a manifest reflection of a people’s culture. The Nigerian movie industry supposes to be an active player in promoting the Nigerian culture but what is obtainable is nearly apathetic. The movie industry has deviated from transmitting indigenous culture to foreign culture where nudity, hooliganism, indecent dressing serves as the central themes. Films have both positive and negative influence on youths. Negative influence of films is detrimental to Nigerian’s cultural objective and values. Positive Influence however, will be such that promotes pride in Nigeria’s values and seeks to retain her rich culture as against preference for western pattern of dressing characterized by nudity and indecent dressing. These are the problems or issues for which this research tries to find solutions.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
In recent times, there has been a huge concern over the Nigerian culture which seems to be taking a downward plunge among the average Nigerian youths especially females. Trends and patterns have emerged in their food habits, mode of dressing and sexual orientation that is not consistent with known Nigerian cultural orientations. Values that are supposed to define and guide the overall behaviour of Nigerian youths are daily being neglected. Since there is no school or subject that teaches the need to discountenance established cultural values, where food, dress and sexuality are concerned, it is not impossible that these changes in attitude and behaviour may be connected with the films that Nigerian youths are exposed to. Based on the foregoing to what extent have Nollywood production influenced the dressing code of female students of Akwa Ibom State University.
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