The cultural penetration of Nigerian films in France Part 3

Nollywood France

The reception of films shown by Nollywood TV in France to bridge what François Thiellet described as “language barrier” did not meet the expectation of the viewers because the “cultural dialogue” should have matched with the context and intonation of African voices they were trying to portray on the screen. These Nigerian films dubbed with European French voices could not relate to the cultural background of Nigerian actors and actresses in the original version of the films. However, it entertained some French expatriates who lived in Nigeria and some parts of Francophone Africa more than it did Africans living in the Diaspora like in France. In the absence of nothing at this time, people subscribed massively to Nollywood TV because of a need to quench their nostalgic feeling and the easiest ticket to the Motherland.

The Nigerian films acquired by Nollywood TV were dubbed by Cinekita, a French company based in the Paris business center (La défense). During the Nollywood Week Paris (2013) professional session on dubbing and subtitling, speakers like Kunle Afolayan, Obi Emelonye raised the issue of how dubbing by a French company without the experience of Africa could distort the original version of the film. Tunde Kelani, on his part talked about missing an important “Nigerian language” like “Sighing…Sssssh” in Nigerian films to express disdain which has no equivalent in the French language. And “even in subtitling, it’s missing too”, he concluded. During the session, Clementine Tugendhat, Director of content for Thema, expressed her concern to bring the dubbing standard to the taste of all viewers.

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