For the first time in Netflix history, the streaming service has climbed on board to produce the new Nigerian flick 'Lionheart'. Starring Genevieve Nnaji who takes on the role of both director and protagonist, the film tackles power, family, rivalry and business in the bustling city of Enugu in south-eastern Nigeria. By Netumbo Nekomba
Nnaji plays the determined Adaeze Obiagu, a director of logistics and operations at her father's transportation company, Lionheart. Like in most boardrooms in the world, she is forced to break through glass ceilings of sexism in a male-dominated setting that is designed to bring her down. She must prove to fellow executives that she is capable of standing up for herself and the company - no matter how life-threatening the challenges may be.
Although her ambition often overwhelms her, it's clear her intentions are simply for the company to become a world-class service in the industry, while defeating rival IG Motors.
Adaeze's goal is to become the managing director in her father's place, but a health incident forces her father to keep her uncle in the driver's seat, and this obviously disappoints her. Little does she know it's for her own good.
Like many companies, this one falls into a crisis. A near-billion Naira debt forces Adaeze to make decisions that either make or break the family business. But what more does she have to sacrifice in order to gain respect from her elders before she can finally steer the company to greatness?
Legendary actor Nkem Owoh, who plays Adaeze's uncle Chief Godswill Odiagu, brings comic relief to the film, and although movies tend to show those in power creating an even bigger mess, this isn't the case. Adaeze teams up with Godswill to save the company, while Adaeze's mother Abigail (Onyeka Onwenu) becomes the voice of reason and a guardian of her husband's health.
With problems coming at her from every angle, the film is truly reminiscent of many women in the white collar industry who are forced to put aside their personal needs and attend to challenges capable of breaking anyone's spirit.
'Lionheart' premiered at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival in Canada and received a nomination for the Grolsch People's Choice Award.
Reviews are in its favour so far, and with good reason. It is an elegant and interesting film that shies away from the rush, rave and three-hour time frame Nollywood is known for.
'Lionheart' is now available on Netflix.