A drama that brings together the lives of four people during the struggle to establish an independent republic in Nigeria.
Nigeria / UK, 2013, Feature, 1hr46mins, Drama
Director: Biyi Bandele
starring Thandie Newton, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Joseph Mawle
Country: Nigeria, UK
Written and directed by Biyi Bandele
Based on the novel by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
Cast: Thandie Newton, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Joseph Mawle, Anika Noni Rose, Genevieve Nnaji, John Boyega
Produced by Andrea Calderwood
Executive Producers: Yewande Sadiku, Muhtar Bakare, Gail Egan, Norman Merry, Peter Hampden
Cinematographer: John de Borman
Editor: Chris Gill
Production Designer: Andrew McAlpine
Music: Ben Onono, Paul Thomson
Running Time (minutes): 106
PROGRAMMER'S NOTE Celebrated playwright Biyi Bandele's directorial debut, an adaption of Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's Orange Prize-winning novel, chronicles the captivating journey of two women during the tumult of Nigeria's independence and ensuing Nigerian-Biafran War (1967-1970), a conflict prompted by the attempted secession of Nigeria's southeastern region and its formation into the short-lived Republic of Biafra. With the vast sweep of an epic, Half of a Yellow Sun tells the story of a generation through the prism of the sisters' thorny romantic destinies: Olanna (Thandie Newton) falls in love with Odenigbo (Chiwetel Ejiofor, also at the Festival in Steve McQueen's 12 Years a Slave), a revolutionary who fathers a child by another woman, while Kainene (Anika Noni Rose) enters into a romance with a British writer (Joseph Mawle) who has come to Nigeria to teach.
Nigerian-born Bandele rose to prominence after his 1997 British stage version of Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart. His take on Half of a Yellow Sun, which streamlines and brings a charged cinematic energy to Adichie's sprawling text, is further evidence of his skill at literary adaptation. The novel's seamless translation to the screen is aided immeasurably by the film's cast: Ejiofor's bracingly charismatic turn as the intellectual militant; Onyeka Onwenu as his hardline mother; and Newton, whose subtle, knowing performance makes her the dramatic anchor in this tale of a country adrift in a sea of ethnic strife and male domination, yet longing for self-determination.
While its historical scope looks fifty years into the past, Half of a Yellow Sun is a chilling, lucid, and emotionally gripping drama from contemporary Nigerian cinema, and a film that honours the fearless intelligence and strength of the country's women.
RASHA SALTI (TIFF 2013, Toronto)
Genre: Drama Country: Nigeria, UK
Director: Biyi Bandele Countries: Nigeria / United Kingdom Orig. Work Title Half of a Yellow Sun Year: 2013 Language: English Runtime: 106 minutes Rating: 14A
Principal Cast: Thandie Newton, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Anika Noni Rose Screenplay: Biyi Bandele Source Author: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Cinematographer: John de Borman Editor: Chris Gill Sound: Giancarlo Dellapina Music: Ben Onono, Paul Thomson Prod. Designer: Andrew McAlpine Exec. Producer: Yewande Sadiku, Muhtar Bakare, Gail Egan, Norman Merry, Peter Hampden Producer: Andrea Calderwood Production Co.: Slate Films Int. Sales Agent: Metro International Entertainment