The Supreme Price

This compact documentary provides a lucid lesson in Nigerian history from the early 1960s to the present, focusing on the efforts of politician M.K.O. Abiola and his children to bring democratic reform to a nation ruled by dictators for decades. Director Joanna Lipper succeeds in heroizing the Abiola family (whose patriarch was elected president in 1993 but died in detention under suspicious circumstances) without drawing attention away from Nigeria’s awful history of human rights abuses. Indeed the optimistic family portrait keeps this from becoming too grim, reminding us that humane behavior exists even under tyranny. Lipper advances an uplifting feminist message as well in her depictions of M.K.O.’s wife, Kudirat, who played a major role in his campaign, and daughter Hafsat, a prominent human rights activist today.