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Coconut Head Generation

A film by Alain Kassanda

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At Ibadan, Nigeria’s oldest university, a student association hosts a documentary screening and discussion group. In a country where dissent is frequently punished, this Thursday Film Series becomes a space for conversation and impassioned debate.

Organizers program films by the likes of John Akomfrah (Ghana/UK), Jean-Marie Teno (Mauritania), and Med Hondo (Cameroon). With the films as a starting point, the students hold compelling discussions on issues including corruption, gender roles, LGBTQ+ rights, colonialism, housing, and corruption. In between screenings, we get a taste of their daily lives at university, as they play soccer, eat instant noodles and joke around with each other.

But when nationwide protests against police brutality break out, students find themselves on the front lines of resistance — and the issues that occupied them take on a new urgency. Meanwhile, university life is far from carefree, with frequent blackouts, overcrowded conditions, and consequences for even the most benign actions to better their lives.

“Coconut head generation” is a term used by older generations to denigrate young Nigerians as brainless. As this film makes abundantly clear, they are anything but.

“Witnessing (and perhaps sharing) the determination and resilience of these wonderful young people results in a powerful viewing experience.” —International Cinephile Society

“A dialectical work, it enmeshes its audience with engaged young people, undercutting the titular insult which is often thrown their way.” —Hyperallergic

Grand Prize, Cinéma du Réel 2023
New Directors/New Films 2023
RIDM - Montreal International Documentary Festival 2023
Open City Documentary Festival 2023
FCAT - Tarifa-Tangier African Film Festival 2023

89 minutes / Color
English; French; Yoruba / English subtitles
Closed Captioned
Release: 2023
Copyright: 2023

For colleges, universities, government agencies, hospitals and corporations

This DVD is sold with a license for institutional use and Public Performance rights.

Subject areas:
Africa, Cultural Studies, Cultural Anthropology, Film History, Education, Social Movements

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