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Monday, 7 April 2014

Half of a Yellow Sun. By Biyi Bandele. A Soda Pictures release in cinemas on 11 April. London special screenings on 7 April @ Peckham Plex and Odeon Greenwich on 9 April. Both screenings with Chiwetel Ejiofor, Biyi Bandele and author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

Courtesy of Soda Pictures

UK Premiere on Tues 8 April @ Odeon – Streatham is now sold out.

London PV screening @ Peckham Plex on 7 April will be attended by Director Biyi Bandele & author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. (see link below)

Special screening @ Odeon Cinema, Greenwich on 9 April will be with a Q&A joined by actor Chiwetel Ejiofor (see link below)

Director: Biyi Bandele
Genre: Drama
Starring: Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years A Slave), BAFTA Winner Thandie Newton (Crash), Anika Noni Rose (Dreamgirls), Joseph Mawle (Birdsong), John Boyega (Attack the Block), Genevieve Nnaji
Country: UK/Nigeria
Language: English
Running time: 105 min
Release date: 11 April 2014
Music: Miriam Makeba aka Mama Africa, Eartha Kitt, Cardinal Rex Lawson, Toni Kofi Quitet, Charlie Parker, Franco Tamponi, Collins Oke Elaiho, Jean Sebelius
Cert: 15

Based on the recent award-winning best-seller by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, HALF OF A YELLOW SUN is a Nollywood epic love story weaving together the lives of two middle-class sisters, their lovers and a servant boy whose lives are swept up in the turbulence of the Nigerian Civil War.

Civil war background:
Before being colonised by Britain, Nigeria was part of a West African composition containing its religious, linguistic, and ethnic structures. Britain unified some of its structures and called it Nigeria. On 1 October 1960, Nigeria gained its independence.  At that time, the country had a population of 60 million people consisting of nearly 300 differing ethnic and cultural groups with three predominant groups: the Igbo in the southeast (the most “westernised-ly” educated); the Hausa-Fulani in the northern part of the territory; and the Yoruba in the south-western part.
The Nigerian Civil War, aka the Biafran War, started 6 July 1967 and ended 15 January 1970. It was an ethnic, economic, cultural, religious and political conflict mainly between the Hausas of north and the Igbo of the southeast of Nigeria.
lgbo people fought fiercely to establish Biafra as an independent republic. Its chilling violence shocked the country and the world.

Courtesy of Soda Pictures

Half Of A Yellow Sun starts with some footage of the present Queen and husband arriving in Lagos and then shifting to the Independence of Nigeria.  
At a wealthy Igbo family dinner, highly sophisticated twin sisters with an English accent, Olanna (Thandie Newton) and Kainene (Anika Noni Rose) show off their determination to do as they please... to the quiet astonishments of their parents. Before going to a party, Olanna announces her decision to become a sociology professor and to live with her revolutionary academic Igbo (from a village) lover Odenigbo (Chiwetel Ejiofor) in Nsukka while Kainene is a would-be business woman... falling unexpectedly in love with an English writer Richard (Joseph Mawle).
Despite her aristocratic manners, Olanna is in fact a sympathetic Igbo, giving up her social status, who offers to teach how to cook rice to her lover’s loyal servant Ugwu (John Boyega). Ugwu is not only an introverted observer of the familial and sexual betrayal but he is also eventually a more direct victim of the civil war.

Film maker Bandele recreates with his debut film a 60’s documentary feel when showing a map of Nigeria as to indicate how his characters move while also inserting black-and-white newsreel footage among his semi-saga. If indeed, the love story is the main “protagonist”, the rare action scenes of that devastating war are highly effective and shocking without being a puddle of blood.
Some scenes of people fleeing are reminiscent of Terry George’s Hotel Rwanda.
Unlike 12 Year A Slave, Half Of A Yellow Sun is not a polite film. Its violence is rapid and crude with no compromise. When it happens, it’s unexpected and doesn’t install the viewer into a voyeuristic and comfortable position. As for the nerve-racking mannerism and well spoken scenes, they are most probably here to reflect on how colonialism contaminated a population, a generation who suffered its division when the white men arrived... with a Bible!

London PV screening @ Peckham Plex on 7 April will be with a Q&A joined by Director Biyi Bandele & author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

Special screening @ Odeon Cinema, Greenwich on 9 April will be with a Q&A joined by actor Chiwetel Ejiofor and director Biyi Bandele 

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