MORE POWER
A DOCUMENTARY TRAVELOGUE EXPLORING THE CULTURAL AND HISTORICAL LINKS BETWEEN IRELAND AND NIGERIA
     
HOME  
 
We want to make a short documentary travelogue exploring the links between Ireland and Nigeria, using the mythologies surrounding Guinness as a pretext and celebrating Ireland's multicultural future, combining Irish and African traditions of storytelling in an entertaining voyage of mutual discovery

The project originated as a result of conversations with African friends, who share our appreciation for Guinness, for a variety of different reasons. Shared tastes led to wide-ranging discussions about history and culture, providing each of us with the opportunity to discover more about our respective countries, past and present

We feel that this kind of exchange is particularly important for contemporary Ireland, where migrants have been welcomed with very varying degrees of warmth (or lack thereof). Our knowledge of Nigeria in particular, and Africa in general, has been shaped by mainstream media; the dynamism of African urban centres is an area that has been largely unexplored in Irish public debate

We are interested in comparing Irish and Nigerian historical experiences and exploring the commond ground that we share. The project will also provide an entertaining and conversational introduction to Nigerian culture and history, with an emphasis on the structural organisation of society pre- and post- colonisation

We take our inspiration from two masters of the travelogue, Lawrence Sterne and Jean Rouch, combining aspects of classic Irish narrative literature with French cinéma-vérité

Sterne's novel A Sentimental Journey established travel writing as a dominant genre in the 18th century. His protagonist moves across Europe in a series of encounters with local characters, proceeding by what Sterne called "progressive digressions". Sterne was also an abolitionist, as per his personal correspondence in relation to his seminal novel Tristram Shandy

Rouch was a filmmaker and anthropologist and one of the founders of cinéma-vérité in France. He worked as a documentary filmmaker for over sixty years in West Africa; his films are ground-breaking in that they are fully collaborative, with local participants contributing to all aspects of the production, from conception to final edit. His work blurs the line between fiction and documentary, creating a new style of ethnofiction

"We invented a word to describe the cameras that we're using at the moment - we call them contact cameras .. The camera has become less of an obstacle separating two people and more of a tool for stimulating contact"
- Jean Rouch (La Nouvelle Critique, 1975)

The project will borrow Sterne's international perambulations as a structural template. The action will centre around a trip from Ireland to Nigeria and back, following our protagonists as they explore Lagos and encounter a fluctuating cast of characters in their search for the perfect pint. The style of film-making is inspired by Jean Rouch's work in West Africa and will operate on the basis of collaboration with the participants in the film