City to City

76

Izu Ojukwu

76 01

Nollywood superstars Ramsey Nouah, Rita Dominic, and Chidi Mokeme headline this gripping drama set against the backdrop of the attempted 1976 military coup against the government of General Murtala Mohammed.

Nigerians have been waiting for Izu Ojukwu's new film. One of his nation's most artistically ambitious filmmakers, he's also become known for the sweep of his stories. But, with 76, he reaches a new level. Inspired by cataclysmic events of 40 years ago, and shot, remarkably, in 35mm, this epic political thriller features Nollywood superstars Ramsey Nouah, Rita Dominic, and Chidi Mokeme.

Nigeria's middle belt, 1976. Respected army officer Captain Joseph Dewa (Nouah) and his wife, Suzy (Dominic), who is from the southeastern part of Nigeria, eagerly anticipate their first child. Suzy's family adamantly disapproves of her intercultural marriage. At the same time, rebellious soldiers on Joseph's base attempt to recruit him into a coup plot to assassinate General Murtala Mohammed, a key player in Nigeria's Civil War. Joseph resists but the plotters are cunning, setting a trap for him and creating barriers of secrecy between him and Suzy. It's not long before Joseph is arrested, isolating him from his military brothers and his own family.

Tackling a still-contested chapter in Nigeria's history, Ojukwu weaves together themes of political and personal loyalty, telling the story from the dual perspectives of the betrayed soldier and his anguished wife. Though it recounts serious recent history, 76 delivers great pleasures as well. The warm, saturated cinematography perfectly captures the period, and the soundtrack of '70s music — both Nigerian and American — beautifully sets the tone. Ojukwu has reached new heights with 76. The wait was well worth it.

CAMERON BAILEY

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location_on Isabel Bader Theatre

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