Half Of A Yellow Sun Is My Story Too – Chiwetel Ejiofor

admin  | Monday, 14 April 2014 | 1003 Total Views


What do you think about a wedding taking place right in the middle of a heavy military bombardment? Or a mother courageously refusing to evacuate a town being overrun by invading forces in order to protect her family property while the rest of her household including her “revolutionary” son fled in order to marry the wife of his dreams in another town?

Oscar nominee and star act in the acclaimed movie 12 Years A Slave, Chinwetel Ejiofor is in the news again as lead actor in the film version of Chimamanda’s novel, Half of A Yellow Sun which hits the big screens across Nigeria starting from the 25th of April 2014. The new movie is a fantastic love story set in the strange context of the brutalities of the Nigerian Civil War in the dying years of the 60s. However, it’s not a story about how or why Biafra happened. The idea to turn the book into a motion picture was mooted in 2008 and was eventually shot in Calabar in 2012 over a period of 33 days by a crew of local and international film makers. It became an instant success as it resonated well with cinema goers around the world. Chimanda Ngozi Adichie, the author herself immediately loved it.

According to the film director, Biyi Bandele, Half of A Yellow Sun presented an opportunity to tell the African story from an African perspective as against the highly un-African treatment usually given to similar themes by foreign movie makers. Apart from Chinwetel, two other non-local actors starred in the film. Thandie Newton played Olanna while Anika Noni Rose played Kainene, two sisters who were torn between personal romance, family loyalty and patriotic/revolutionary sentiments. The trio though based outside Nigeria masterfully delivered and interpreted their respective roles as highly educated and westernised Igbo man and women in love struggling against the cultural values of their own people while a war of attrition loomed large over the horizon.

Fielding questions from press men at the press conference organised in Lagos, Chinwetel said he was happy to be back in Nigeria to do the film and that he felt the story in Half of A Yellow Sun was his own story as well in a sense. Although he was born in London, the Civil War played a part in his parents’ relocation to the UK. Many of the scenes of massacre, looting and pillage in the film were reminiscent of stories told to him by his relatives who were living in the northern part of the country during the period. He stated that he is truly Nigerian and very connected to his Igbo roots despite years outside the country. “The story is personal to me too. Besides, it’s an international story that is relevant,” he said.

Mr. Kene, the Managing Director of Film One, the distributing company for the film enthused that Half of A Yellow is billed to be the biggest movie in Nigeria yet as all the major cinemas in Abuja, Enugu, Uyo, Benin, Warri, Calabar, Asaba, Lagos are all working together to achieve this feat. He hinted that it would be the first step to persuading Chinwetel to do more Nigerian films