We are often told of true stories bringing power play in educational establishments. A young professor with a significant reputation; admired and honored by their peers, but then scandals are leaked of student relationships, sexual harassment, and rape.
Nigerian Netflix film Citation brings a story of rape culture based on true events. The movie displays an environment where rape is normalized due to attitudes towards gender and sexuality. The story follows Moremi, a bright young student who takes on the establishment when a hot-shot professor tries to rape her.
Citation provides plenty of context; it revels in the life and community of Moremi, bringing forth the many complexities regarding her claim. The film is split into two parts; the events leading up to the attempted rape and the private trial hearings between Moremi and the professor.
Citation is typical of many communities today. It contextualizes how the party who holds the most power is the one who has the stronger voice. The story is laced with bravery and inner strength as the smart young woman vows to stand against what happened to her. The scenarios that play out encapsulate how easy it is for a victim to feel shame, despite the attempt to bring forth justice.
The director has chosen a lighter approach to the story. It embraces a happy environment with a dark undertone. The purpose of this is to instill realism — a depressing world does not always douse victims. It quite often happens in a perceived safe environment with someone they trust. These stories matter to help audiences grasp society and the real cogs of rape culture that reverberates to friends, family, and peers.
There’s a sense that the director wants audiences to stand up and act. To speak loudly when we see events that make us feel uncomfortable. Rape culture is formed by the silence of others and not by the victim.
Unfortunately, the film does sag; it’s two hours and thirty-minute length is slightly unnecessary to get the message to hit home. Citation could easily be a 90-minute feature to reflect the issues. But regardless, Citation brings an emotional account of a victim in a crippling world of rape culture by directing an environment that is suppressed and platforms a world of silence.