Film review: Half of a Yellow Sun (M)
Directed by Biyi Bandele
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's novel Half of a Yellow Sun was a sensation. It won the Orange Prize for fiction, and made many critic's best-of-the-year lists in 2007. A film has been rumoured and planned for years. The task of adapting the novel to a screenplay was handed to the London based Nigerian playwright Biyi Bandele. And eventually, it was decided that Bandele would also be asked to direct his own script. Adichie's only proviso was that the film must be shot in its actual setting: Nigeria.
On the screen, Half of a Yellow Sun mostly works very well indeed. The story follows two adult sisters, home in Nigeria after their English educations, finding themselves much involved in the cataclysmic events of the Nigerian/Biafran war of 1967 to 1970.
The two sisters, with their contrasting personalities, and the different relationships they attract, make a fine kaleidoscope through which to view the complexities of the conflict, and also to perhaps better understand the nature of what befell so much of post-colonial Africa.
Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave) and Thandie Newton (Crash) are the big names on the poster, and they both acquit themselves well. Half of a Yellow Sun is a bold and admirable film, that grapples with massive events, on a tight budget, and scores some impressive points.
- The Dominion Post