COCONUT HEAD GENERATION
Every Thursday, a group of students from the University of Ibadan, the oldest in Nigeria, organizes a film club, transforming a small lecture hall into a political agora where they develop a critical voice.
Every Thursday night, at the university of Ibadan, a big city in south-western Nigeria, a film club provides a safe place where students come to watch films which they also take the time to discuss. The film club features works that touch on intersectionality, decolonization, feminist struggles, LGBT struggles, ethnic minorities, student rights and elections, thereby providing the so-called “Coconut Head Generation” with a space from which they can grapple with Nigerian society and the world at large. The disparaging expression, which casts the youth as lazy and obtuse, is claimed back and repurposed by the students who recast it as a strength and affirm their critical minds. From one screening to the next, amid heated discussions and impassioned speeches, the students learn to position themselves, to assert their differences and to think together. The cinema becomes a space for self-governed education where members learn to fight and organize. The first scenes of the film take place indoors, at the university or at the cinema, but the horizon broadens when reality catches up with the filmmaker and the students. Alain Kassanda follows the student uprising against police violence and the abuse committed by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (#EndSARS) which flared up in October 2020. At the time that the students are watching the films of Med Hondo, Mahamat Saleh Haroun and John Akomfrah, they become the protagonists of an activist film, which captures their growing awareness of reality and their transformation into actors of change. Confronted with a world where change moves too slowly, with its history and its violence, they cry out: teacher, don’t teach me nonsense.
Alain Kassanda, born in Kinshasa, left the DRC for France at the age of 11. After studying communication, he has been staging cycles of movie showings in various Parisian theaters. He then became the programmer of an art house cinema for five years, in the suburbs of Paris, before moving to Ibadan, in southwestern Nigeria, from 2015 to 2019.
There he directed Trouble Sleep, a medium-length film centered on the road, depicted from the perspective of a taxi driver and a tax collector. The film received the Golden Dove for best short film at the Dok Leipzig festival in 2020 and the special mention of the jury at the Visions du réel festival. This was followed by Colette and Justin, a feature film intertwining his family history and the history of the decolonization of Congo. The film was part of the international competition at Idfa in 2022. Coconut Head Generation is his third film.
Ajímátí Films (Alain Kassanda)
Alain Kassanda, Tobi Akinde
Ajímátí Films - email@example.com