Saturday, August 02, 2014

Half of a Yellow Sun (The Movie) - Thoughts

Half of a Yellow Sun (the movie) premiered in Nigerian cinemas yesterday, and I went to see it today. I came away from the screening with a cornucopia of thoughts, and I wanted to share some of them here…

First, HOAYS is an excellent movie! Apart from a few anachronisms like a late 90’s style Ox fan in a 1960 room and a few 2000+series handbags used by characters during the Civil War, the movie was worth the nearly two hours I spent seeing it. The movie theatre was packed full, and I was proud a Nigerian-directed movie pulled that kind of crowd. Great work, Mr. Biyi Bandele.

Second, I didn’t quite like the fact that Mr. Bandele looked outside of Nollywood to find his lead characters. While the boo argued that his use of Chiwetel Ejiofor and Thandie Newton in leading roles made the movie more appealing to the international audience – the proud (and possibly illogical) ‘Nigerian’ in me wished there was more Nollywood ‘leadership’ in the movie. For example – why wasn’t Genevieve Nnaji casted as Olanna?

Third, Onyeka Onwenu was such a natural! She killed it!!! I totally fell in love with her portrayal of “Mama”, and was quite sad when she died (in the movie – of course)! Sorry – but that there is a spoiler.

Last but not the least, at the end of the movie – I was reminded of my long-standing admiration for the Igbo people. The fact that they bounced back from the killings and persecution that went on unabated in the late 60s to yet again permeate the top echelons of Nigerian society today is a testament to their perseverance, long-suffering, and innate excellence.

I am grateful the Censors Board overcame their fears (with a little external prodding I believe) and released Half of a Yellow Sun for public viewing. We must tell the stories of the Civil War to young Nigerians; yea – we must teach its lessons to the coming generation.

We need to do what we can to ensure we do not repeat our fathers’ mistakes.

Net – watch “Half of a Yellow Sun”. It is well worth your time.
1. There’s some nudity. You might not want to see this one with kids.
2. It’s not entirely like the book. Prepare for a somewhat-related story, but again – NOT the book.
3. I shed a tear (well, more like a few tears) when Olanna's wedding reception was disrupted by Federal shelling... War :(, oh War :(.


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