Citation tells the story of Moremi, who is sexually assaulted by her lecturer, Professor N’Dyare, during her masters degree program. The film is set mostly in the ancient city of Ile-Ife, Osun State, Nigeria, at Obafemi Awolowo University, and also in Senegal and Cape Verde. Directed by Kunle Afolayan, the film stars Temi Otedola, Jimmy Jean Louis, Gabriel Afolayan, Adjetey Anang, Ini Edo, Bukunmi Oluwasina, Joke Silva, and Ibukun Awosika, amongst others.
First I’d like to say thank you to Kunle Afolayan for his continued brilliance in African storytelling. The opening scene of the film was indeed very strong — a conversation between a student and a lecturer requesting sex for grades. A great introduction to the story about to unfold.
I love the choice of Temi Otedola as the main character, Moremi Oluwa (although I know a lot of people who would disagree). She wasn’t the most fantastic actress but for her first role, I think she did a pretty good job. She was believable and I felt every emotion she felt. She made us love her, pity her, and want justice for her. I loved the fact that she was portrayed as intelligent and multilingual — she spoke three languages — English, French and Yoruba. Her Yoruba was cute (sounds like some people I know when they speak Yoruba 👀). She learnt how to speak Yoruba for this film, and was taught by Gabriel Afolayan who played her boyfriend in the film, Koyejo. I also think she’s absolutely gorgeous but that’s not why we are here!
Professor Lucien N’Dyare
Jimmy Jean Louis seems to have become a regular in Kunle Afolayan’s movies. Can we talk about that ugly wig and his dry lips though? I think they deliberately wanted us to hate him because that hair made it really easy! His French accent was sexy but it was tough to like his character.
This is the first time that Kunle Afolayan is casting his brother, Gabriel Afolayan, in a feature film. Gabriel did feature in one of his short films, Hanatu, but that was only fifteen minutes long. He is indeed a fantastic and verstile actor.
I know she’s not a main character but I need to mention her. She was the student on the panel, played by Bukunmi Oluwasina. It seems like she is trying to break into the English movie scene. She’s a really good Yoruba language actress but she needs to be more natural and tone down the “phonetics” for real “Nollywood”. Her expressions were much better than her overall speech. Also, her outfits were terrible, what were they thinking?
The main theme of the movie was sexual exploitation.
N’Dyare took advantage of Moremi’s naivety. He marked his prey and plotted her downfall from the very beginning — from pretending to be clueless about manual driving, to planning a whole trip to Senegal and Cape Verde to get her away from her boyfriend, to his uncomfortable sexual questions and eventually, poisoning her food so she would be left alone at his house and he would have his way with her (albeit unsuccessful). Pure evil!
This obviously wasn’t his first rodeo. Every single move he made was deliberate, so at the hearing, the witness accounts were slightly confusing as some assumed she was in love with him and others assumed he was in love with her. So it was tough to come to a conclusion until a star witness emerged.
I have to note that Moremi had the privilege of wealth on her side, otherwise she would have lost the case and been tagged as a liar. That second trip to Dakar was needed in order to clear her name. If she wasn’t intelligent enough or didn’t have the means to facilitate a trip to Senegal to find Mr Cardosa, there would have been no further evidence to prove N’Dyare’s guilt.
He really underestimated her. He played with her grades and she wasn’t having it. Let’s think about all the poor girls who don’t have the opportunity to defend themselves against predators like N’Dyare because they don’t have the money or the support.
It’s quite unfortunate that women have to constantly be on guard. We have to be cautious of every single man. We have to constantly protect ourselves from predators.
I love the film because it encourages more women to speak up, and shows how she can easily become the enemy when she reports sexual assault, as everyone assumes she‘s trying to ruin the man’s life. Why don’t we ever focus on the man who has done this bad thing?
We need to EDUCATE OUR MEN, let them know that CONSENT IS KEY. NO IS NO!
What I loved
- The picture quality was great; the aesthetic, video hue, the old-school vibes of the university.
- The dialogue was on point. The film was well paced. Every scene meant something. I enjoyed all two and a half hours of it.
- I loved the costumes — print heavy, nice African cultural vibes.
- I love the way the flashbacks were played. The movement through different timelines was very seamless.
- There was light humor but it wasn’t overdone. They focused on the seriousness of the story.
- I loved those Geeky British twins, Sam and Cas Okan. They were only in two scenes but they stood out.
- I liked that Ini Edo didn’t over act in this one. Kudos to the director.
Koyejo: “You know some men see overfamiliarity as a green light”.
Koyejo warning Moremi against N’Dyare.
N’Dyare: “I have a feeling that in bed, you like riding horse…My favorite color is red”.
“Stop pretending…you have been staring at me all evening…teasing me with your eyes…see how you are dressed”.
N’Dyare’s inappropriate comments towards Moremi.
Moremi: “Lucien, c’est pas fini”
Moremi threatening N’Dyare after he ripped her dissertation to shreds. In English, it means “it’s not finished”.
Ibukun Awosika: “I am a Rhodes scholar, I possess two PhDs, one doctor of letter, I belong to 23 academic fellowships across the world and on top of that, I was previously nominated for the Nobel Prize in Economics. And as the chair of this panel, Professor N’Dyare sit down”.
Mrs Awosika to N’Dyare after he tried to flex his achievements, knowing he had lost the battle!
Also, do you know how massive it is to have the chairman of First Bank in a movie? A big deal!
Kunle Afolayan is a brilliant filmmaker. He gets better every time. You can tell he’s constantly educating himself. Each new piece is better than the last.
He is one of a few Nigerian filmmakers that doesn’t waste an all star cast! He introduces us to people outside of Africa, to other cultures, other languages. Let’s call him a pan-African filmmaker.
Please go and find Citation on Netflix. It won’t be everyone’s cup of tea but I’m rating it 8/10.