For perhaps the first time in its chequered history, Nigerians would be served a home movie depicting the sad happenings in the country in 1976.
It was the year one of Africa’s finest and the nation’s most loved icons, General Murtala Muhammed, was toppled and assassinated in a military coup.
Titled ’76, the movie already has rave reviews by the likes of the BBC and others following sold out screenings in September this year at the Toronto International Film Festival, and at the 60th BFI London Film Festival this October.
The African premiere is in Lagos on November 3, while it will open to the public on November 25 across Nigeria.
The historical film, which principal photography was concluded in July 2012 at Mokola Barracks, Ibadan, features the likes of Ramsey Nouah, Chidi Mokeme, Rita Dominic, both Africa Movie Academy and Viewers Award for Best Actor In Leading Role in 2016 – Daniel K. Daniel and Ibinabo Fiberesima.
It comes 40 years after the actual events, and follows seven years of work by the multi-award winning Director Izu Ojukwu and the production teams of Adonis Production and Princewill’s Trust.
Ojukwu said, “We wanted to show audiences who were not there, what it was like and the impact of the army on the people’s psyche. A lot of water has gone under the bridge over 40 years. This is a filmmaker’s small contribution to some of that healing.”
According to the producers, the movie “is a story told from a dual point of view –the soldier’s patriotic perspective accused of being involved in the 1976 military coup and assassination of General Murtala Muhammed, and from that of the officer’s wife.”
The film also pays homage to the strength of soldiers’ wives.
“Our objective was to show audiences, amongst other things, what the wives of officers had to go through. Military coups are our legacy. In some ways, we are still trying to recover from this. Everyone sees and hears the perspective of the officers. But the woman’s story stays silent. We wanted to highlight the strength and the vulnerabilities of the typical African woman and to do so through the eyes of officers’ wives. This is a filmmaker’s tiny contribution to raising their volume,” stated Executive Producer Adonijah Owiriwa.
The film shoot enjoyed the full approval and endorsement of the Nigerian Army and the Murtala Muhammed family.
Former Head of State, General Olusegun Obasanjo, who succeeded Murtala, also endorsed the movie, describing the story line as “the best view of one of the worst times in our nation’s history. A must watch and an insight that was long overdue.’’
The film reflects rumours of foreign involvement and also portrays inter-tribal marriages, being set six years after the Nigerian Civil War.
‘76 has also been invited to screen at the Dubai Film Festival 2016 and Berlin Film Festival 2017.