The film, Black November is superb for it’s varying degrees of diversity in the use of several different film types that come together perfectly to tell the story of one of the poorest regions in Nigeria; the Niger Delta. The film starts off as a documentary by providing statistics of Nigeria in bold block font. “Nigeria , population 167 million, 90% of population live on less than $2 a day” it reads. Shortly after, a scene of the Nigerian Prison Service appears with the orchestration of a hanging execution and a woman locked in a cell who we later learn is the protagonist, Ebiere.
The film then switches modes to a typical Hollywood production with b roll of LA skylines, where we are introduced to oil tycoon and CEO of Western Oil, Tim Hudson. Tim Hudson is introduced in a fright of worry and uneasiness as he talks to his daughter in the car. This, along with the calculated actions of the star studded cast such as Wyclef Jean and Akon as they handle explosives and machine guns, creating feelings of anticipation.
It becomes obvious that the hanging of Nigerians becomes part of a deadly plan and it takes no time for action to emerge as they block off the infamous tunnel on 2nd & Figeroua in downtown LA with a mission to get to Tim Hudson. In an orchestrated hostage kidnapping, the gang identified as a group of terrorists make their purpose and demands known.
As the scenery changes from the inner city of L.A. to the rural and underdeveloped parts of Warri, Nigeria we are introduced to Ebiere Perema played by Mbong Amata. The film documents her matriculation through childhood from birth to her high school graduation where she is afforded an opportunity to study in the US for college. She returns home to her community, which is shortly decimated from a deadly explosion which kills 1,000 members of her community including her entire family. The explosion spiked the beginning of community organizing amongst the Niger Delta people, where Ebiere is at the forefront of mobilizing protests and educating her people about the exploitation of their land and oil resources.
It seems as if Jeta Amata, writer, producer and director of Black November, tries to portray the making of a modern day Nigerian Black Panther Party with Ebiere serving as Assata Shakur. She sets the tone with a revolutionary stance. She declares herself to the community and the corrupt government as a leader with the statement, “If you don’t stop, the people will rise.”
Ebiere’s actions create tons of ambiguity. She plays devils advocate by negotiating with her fellow community leaders known as the rebels on behalf of Western Oil, which ultimately results in their execution.
The death of a government leader who accepted a bribe from Western Oil which resulted in the terror and rape of many in the community incites an act of violence that lands the entire community in prison. Ebiere pleads guilty to the crime, which spares the lives of her community members, making her a hero.
Overall, Black November is a remarkable film. It documents the never tiring spirit of a fighting people, the exploitation of corporal capitalism, and a corrupt military government. It also features the romance of two community leaders, Ebiere & DeDe, who is played by Mickey Rourke. The film is raw, thought provoking and it’s filled with intense action and emotion.
Black November receives a PARLÉ. It is a must see.
Entertainment One Films presents the dramatic thriller BLACK NOVEMBER, available in theaters, on VOD and iTunes January 9th, 2015. Written and directed by Jeta Amata (The Amazing Grace),