Screenwriter: Emmanuel Okomanyi
Production Designer: Pat Nebo
Cinematographer: Yinka Edward
Music: Hyacinth Ogbu
Editor: Emeka Ojukwu
Producer: Adonaijah Owiriwa and Izu Ojukwu
Executive Producer: Tonye Princewill and Adonaijah Owiriwa
Assistant Director (2nd): Willis Ikedum
Director: Izu Ojukwu
Shuaibu Ebenehi Adams
Daniel K. Daniel
Production Studio: Adonis Productions and Princewill’s Trust
Distribution Company: Shoreline Entertainment
Genre: Historical Drama /Political Thriller
Language: English, Pidgin English and Igbo (Subtitled in English)
Runtime: 1hr 58mins
Date Released: 25th November, 2016
Budget: ₦600M ($3M)
A Soldier from the Middle-Belt region of Nigeria, marries a young woman from the South-East region of Nigeria, despite her family’s disapproval of the union.
The soldier is soon accused of being complicit in the 1976 coup d’état that resulted in the death of Nigeria’s Head of State, General Murtala Ramat Mohammed.
The Soldier’s wife, now at her wits end, courageously sets out to prove her husband’s innocence.
Captain Dewa (Ramsey Nouah), a soldier from the Middle-Belt region of Nigeria, marries Suzie (Rita Dominic), an O’ level student, from the South-East region of Nigeria. Suzie’s father (Ben Nwosu) and her younger brother Ikenna (Nelly Ekwereogu) are not happy with the union. Especially after seeing that she was now pregnant for Dewa. Both men insist that she leaves Dewa and return home. But she vehemently refuses. This angers her father, who consequently refuses to sleep over at Dewa’s house.
Dewa is reposted to the barracks impromptu, from his former station. He meets up with his friend Major Gomos (Chidi Mokeme), and they catch up on old times. Meanwhile, Dewa and Suzie gets into a verbal confrontation with their noisy neighbours Eunice (Memry Savanhu) and her husband Noel (Debo Oguns). From thenceforth, Eunice just won’t stop seizing every leeway possible to indirectly taunt Suzie.
Soon, Colonel Aliu (Pat Nebo) and other soldiers, including Major Gomos and Lt. Jubril (Shuaibu Ebenehi Adams), after several deliberations, decide to include Captain Dewa in their plans to stage a couple d’état against the Federal Government. However, Captain Dewa refuses to cooperate with the group. This leaves the group with no choice but to send Major Gomos after his dear friend’s life before he snitches.
For a movie that took as long as 7 years to make; with a budget unprecedented in Nollywood’s history, much was certainly expected. And I deem it fit to say that ‘76 met and surpassed these expectations.
The screenplay was well written, as was visible in the intriguing and steady-paced manner in which the plot gradually unraveled itself. Emmanuel Okomanyi penned this story quite well.
The cinematography is one to behold. The movie, shot on 16mm film, brought back with nostalgia the days when celluloid films ruled the cinema. It was a perfect blend of colour and monochrome. Visually crisp, clear and also, grainy; the manner in which the cinematography was done, lent further credence to the mood needed to tell such a gripping story that ‘76 is. Every pan, tilt and dolly shot in this film paid obeisance to the cinematographer’s thoroughbred artistry. Yinka Edwards and Izu Ojukwu’s artistic and aesthetic synergy is literally seen and felt in this gem of a motion picture. Kudos to both men for a job well done!
The lighting was very good; the editing, splendid. The sound is of hi-fi quality. The Foley artist also did a great job with the sound effects, especially with those that emanated from Captain Dewa’s majestic strides. The music scoring done and the original music used, combined to create an acoustic bliss that is soothing to both the auditory nerves and the soul.
The production design was ingeniously and tastefully done. And this was no surprise really, as every prop and design on-screen effused the touch of Pat Nebo’s aesthetic artistry. Kudos to him. He always delivers.
The acting in ‘76 is very commendable. Ramsey Nouah left me in awe of his performance. He embodied the character Dewa. A fine soldier, on whose face the struggle to balance family obligations and a dear friend’s betrayal, was clearly written. The majestic strides with which he evades his assailants portrays a performance that can only emanate from a first rate actor.
Rita Dominic has never put so much life into a character as she did here. She put in so much verve in her performance that I feared she would go over the top. The look on her face when Captain V.M. Jaiye seized Dewa’s ID card from her, was priceless. For me, Rita has once again shown that she is indeed a fine actor through and through.
Memry Savanhu! What a performance she put up! Without doing too much, she literally got the audience rooting for her. Miss Savanhu is clearly an artist. Body language is everything in acting. And Memry has got a huge dose of it. What would ‘76 be without the theatrics of Dewa’s noisy neighbour, Eunice.
Chidi Mokeme brought a neo-noir feel to ‘76. The cynical, world-weary, cigar-phile, Gomos, who doesn’t really fathom the depth of his capacity for cruelty, until he is required to gun down his dear friend Dewa. The way Chidi switched his character from a great buddy to a blood-hound mutineer in a matter of seconds, shows what a class act he is. He’s that good.
Adonaijah Owiriwa’s Captain V.M. Jaiye would pass for a true soldier anytime any day. Mr. Owiriwa played the role of an unflinching officer, to the bone. He was Captain Jaiye, and Captain Jaiye was him. Great performance from him, I tell you!
Daniel K. Daniel didn’t disappoint at all. His character Corporal Obi, served as a great sidekick to Captain Dewa. He gave a good account of himself.
Shuaibu Ebenehi Adams played his role as Lieutenant Jubril, with so much conviction. His performance was very believable. He was indeed the staunch tormentor-in-chief of Captain Dewa’s soul.
Ibinabo Fiberesima might not have had much screen time, but she gave a decent performance. One surprisingly above average too, for someone who is meant to be a bit on-screen rusty.
Debo Oguns didn’t do much. But his character, Noel didn’t in anyway hide his deep-seated resentment and distrust towards Captain Dewa.
The 2nd Assistant Director of ‘76, Willis Ikedum, also makes a pretty good cameo, as an orderly who welcomes Suzie home after she had put to bed.
The only thing bad about this great film was the fact that since it was shot on Super 16, its picture resolution on the cinema screen wasn’t full width. That kind of dampened the cinematic experience for me, a bit.
There was absolutely nothing ugly about this film.
‘76 is a great film. It is one that has taken a quantum leap towards Nollywood’s goal of bridging the gulf between her and her bigger counterparts. This is clearly a big deal for Nollywood, as the world would now begin to take our Cinema seriously. I want to use this medium to say a huge well done to the cast and crew of ‘76! It can only get better than this.
‘76 is an epoch making film. One that future generations would rely on to understand how far we’ve come as a country. I hereby recommend this film to every person out there; whether you are a cinephile or not. Please go and see this gem of a movie. You will be glad you did. I rate this movie 4.8 stars out of 5.