THIS VIDEO IS A SHORT EXCERPT FROM A DUAL-CHANNEL VIDEO INSTALLATION
THE FOOTAGE IS COMPROMISED TO ENABLE VIEWING IN THIS CONTEXT
THE INTERVIEW, 2012
Shot at Wheatbaker Hotel, Lagos, Nigeria: June 2012
From the trilogy THE WOODS
Installation View: ACMI, Melbourne
Shot in Lagos in June 2012 with the support of a professional Nollywood crew, THE INTERVIEW features Nollywood superstars Chinedu Ikedieze (born 1977) and Osita Iheme (born 1982), known endearingly to their fans as ‘Aki and Pawpaw,’ the names of the mischievous child characters that they played in their huge breakthrough hit AKI NA UKWA (2002), a film that remains one of Nollywood’s biggest blockbusters. As the final chapter of THE WOODS, THE INTERVIEW brings us face to face with two professional adult actors. Ikedieze and Iheme, who have been cast together in the vast majority of their films, are ranked among the biggest stars of popular African cinema.
Breitz interviewed each of the actors individually over a period of two full days, eliciting a vast archive of information over the four-day shoot. The two separate interviews were then woven into a dual-channel installation that offers a dense cut-and-paste portrait of the duo. Via their rags-to-riches biographies, they give voice to and reflect on the urgent aspirations underpinning the explosive growth of Nollywood since its emergence in 1992. THE INTERVIEW inverts the logic of both THE AUDITION and THE REHEARSAL, in which child actors ventriloquize the words of adults. Here, rather than children assuming the roles of adults, we encounter two adult performers who have built stellar careers playing child roles.
THE INTERVIEW marks the decade-long acting partnership of Ikedieze and Iheme, as well as 20 years of the Nigerian film industry. It also marks the first time ever that Nollywood actors have been interviewed at length and comprehensively about their experiences in the burgeoning African film industry. THE INTERVIEW is to some extent both a biopic and a documentary, while failing to subscribe neatly to the conventions of either genre. In keeping with THE AUDITION and THE REHEARSAL, it hovers between fact and fiction, between spontaneous gesture and rehearsed performance, between documentary scrutiny and the artifice of an intensely mediated edit.
A new trilogy of video installations by Candice Breitz, THE WOODS takes a close look at the world of child performers and the performance of childhood as it probes the dreams and promises embedded in mainstream cinema. Consistent with Breitz’s interest in the role that mimicry plays in the forging of selfhood, and with her ongoing analysis of the circular relationship between real life and reel life, THE WOODS traverses three continents to explore the rituals and conventions governing the on-camera and off-camera personae of professional child actors, as well as adult actors who have become famous playing child roles. The trilogy brings together footage shot in Los Angeles, Mumbai and Lagos, seeking to observe and grasp the aspirational logic that is shared by Hollywood, Bollywood and Nollywood.
Engaging actors and crews whose creative labour would ordinarily be subsumed into these three giant popular cinema industries, the three chapters of THE WOODS bring a behind-the-scenes eye to industries that typically prefer to mask their inner workings. As suggested by their titles – THE AUDITION, THE REHEARSAL and THE INTERVIEW – in each of the three installations making up THE WOODS, a particular show business ritual becomes the locus of meaning through which to more broadly reflect upon and decode the machinery of mainstream entertainment.
Director + Editor: Candice Breitz / Co-Commissioners: The Australian Centre for the Moving Image (Melbourne) + Peabody Essex Museum (Salem, Massachusetts) / Location: Wheatbaker Hotel, Ikoyi, Lagos, Nigeria: June 2012 / Line Producer: Mak ‘Kusare / Production Coordinator: Aderemi Adegbite / Director of Photography: Leonard Nformi / Sound Recordists: Pius Fatoke, Alimi Saheed Olaide / Production Assistant: David Azeez / Still Photography: Aderemi Adegbite / Post Production: Alexander Fahl / Cast: Chinedu Ikedieze, Osita Iheme / Special Thanks: Tola Akerele, Jude Anogwih, Peace Anyiam-Fiberesima, Emeka Bob-Anyeji, Simon Grindrod, Shaibu Husseini, Osita Iheme, Chinedu Ikedieze, Chike Nwagbogu, Onyeka Nwelue, Victor Okhai, Zina Saro-Wiwa, Bisi Silva, Marc-André Schmachtel, Trevor Smith, Emeka + Uka Udemba, Clare van Zyl, Dorothee Wenner.
More information available at candicebreitz.net