Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years A Slave, Children of Men) and Thandie Newton (Crash, The Pursuit of Happyness) star in this epic chronicle of family ties and war from celebrated Nigerian playwright Biyi Bandele.

Special Presentations

Half of a Yellow Sun

Biyi Bandele

Celebrated playwright Biyi Bandele's directorial debut, an adaption of Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's Orange Prize-winning novel, chronicles the captivating journey of two women during the tumult of Nigeria's independence and ensuing Nigerian-Biafran War (1967-1970), a conflict prompted by the attempted secession of Nigeria's southeastern region and its formation into the short-lived Republic of Biafra. With the vast sweep of an epic, Half of a Yellow Sun tells the story of a generation through the prism of the sisters' thorny romantic destinies: Olanna (Thandie Newton) falls in love with Odenigbo (Chiwetel Ejiofor, also at the Festival in Steve McQueen's 12 Years a Slave), a revolutionary who fathers a child by another woman, while Kainene (Anika Noni Rose) enters into a romance with a British writer (Joseph Mawle) who has come to Nigeria to teach.

Nigerian-born Bandele rose to prominence after his 1997 British stage version of Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart. His take on Half of a Yellow Sun, which streamlines and brings a charged cinematic energy to Adichie's sprawling text, is further evidence of his skill at literary adaptation. The novel's seamless translation to the screen is aided immeasurably by the film's cast: Ejiofor's bracingly charismatic turn as the intellectual militant; Onyeka Onwenu as his hardline mother; and Newton, whose subtle, knowing performance makes her the dramatic anchor in this tale of a country adrift in a sea of ethnic strife and male domination, yet longing for self-determination.

While its historical scope looks fifty years into the past, Half of a Yellow Sun is a chilling, lucid, and emotionally gripping drama from contemporary Nigerian cinema, and a film that honours the fearless intelligence and strength of the country's women.

RASHA SALTI

Screenings

Sun Sep 08

Winter Garden Theatre

Regular
4:30pm
Mon Sep 09

Scotiabank 11

Industry
8:30am
Mon Sep 09

Scotiabank 4

Regular
1:30pm
Wed Sep 11

Scotiabank 11

Industry
1:15pm
Sat Sep 14

Scotiabank 4

Regular
9:30pm