I had the opportunity of attending the screening of Half of a Yellow Sun, a movie based on the award winning book by Nigerian author, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie about the Biafran war in Nigeria. But it is not your ordinary war narrative. Quite frankly, I have not finished reading this book partly because...no excuse. I just never got around to finishing it but I've lent it to about 3 of my friends so yes, it's their fault. :D On the bus to MD, I scrambled to cover the book but sleep got the best of me. It was a Thursday afternoon and I had no class so of course, this felt like that mid-week vacation normal human beings don't get. Back in school, I was nominated to be a panelist at our Annual Student Conference on Global Challenges. I know what you're thinking: "How could you pass up such an opportunity for a movie screening?” It was more than a movie screening to me. It was a therapeutic get away from my immediate environment and I really needed it. Last year, I served on the Justice & Human Rights Panel and it was a noteworthy opportunity to discuss one of my passions. If you’re still not sold at my decision, I just had an epiphany - some experiences are best lived once so that the taste can linger for a lifetime. For this realization, I am grateful. It doesn't hurt to add a new meaningful experience to the books and this was definitely one of them.
The Half of a Yellow Sun movie was directed by Biyi Bandele and from an interview I watched earlier, Chimamanda removed herself from the process; I would have, too, mainly because I'd like to see someone else's interpretation of my well-conceived book and I would not want to be caught up in the emotional dilemma of what parts of the book to include and what parts to leave out. I'm sure she had many other reasons for leaving herself out, a wise decision nonetheless. See video below; you have to listen to Chimamanda speak. Her voice, composure & intelligence... *faints*
The main characters Odenigbo, Olanna, Mama, Ugwu, Kainene, and Richard were played by Chiwetel Ejiofor, Thandie Newton, Onyeka Onwenu, John Boyega, Anika Noni Rose and Joseph Mawle respectively [imdb.com]. Eliciting the emotions of Nigerians during the Biafra war up to the early times of Nigeria's independence was no joke so in my opinion, they all did an amazing job. I'm not a movie critic, so don't expect a tough review from me. I'm not even an avid move goer either but believe me when I scream to you about the awesomeness of the cinematography. Set in Calabar, Cross River State, Nigeria and London, UK, it was thrilling to see the dust rise up as Odenigbo drove away to avoid the shootings/bombings on many occasions. That authenticity in the setting is what drew me into this movie and the efforts of the cast to bring those scenes to life is laudable. As I work on finishing the book, I'll do so with actual human figures in my head. The thrills!
My only wishes - Genevieve Nnaji, my all-time favorite Nigerian actress should have been given the lead role of Olanna & the movie should have been released first in Nigeria. Thandie Newton's accent switch bothered me but according to the book, Olanna is a light skinned woman and Genevieve is not so I guess that’s fair. I think this movie should have been released in Nigeria first, or second because it's our story! Whatever their reasoning was, I hope it was valid. On a side note, I want the car Odenigbo used in the movie (random!).
Ok I’ll stop here. I just deleted an entire paragraph of spoilers, hence my almost vague descriptions. The release date for the US has not been confirmed yet, but it will definitely be in the summer, so stay tuned.