Half of a Yellow Sun

The 2014 Seattle International Film Festival hosted the acclaimed actor/director Chiwetel Ejiofor ("12 Years a Slave") on Monday, May 29th @ the Egyptian Theatre. More details were in SIFF Programs.

Okay, let's talk about this drama based on the novel of the same name written by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and directed by BiYi Bandele. It brings us 1960s Nigeria on her shaky path to freedom and democracy. We see news clips from the time with a very young Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip deplaning at the airport and see clips of speeches made by Nigeria's new leaders.

We see:
  • Chiwetel Ejiofor ("Amistad") as Odenigbo, a college post-graduate who has returned to his homeland to help his country join the world as a new democracy.
  • Thandie Newton ("Rogue") is Olanna, a highly educated young woman deeply in love with Odenigbo; his mother is NOT in favor of this union! Much of the early tension is from Village -vs- Cosmopolitan cultures. Olanna is described as an "educated witch."
  • Anika Noni Rose ("The Good Wife") is her sister Kainene, another sophisticated, highly educated Nigerian back to help her country make its transition. 
  • John Boyega ("Star Wars: Episode VII"!!) Ugwu is the absolute heart of this film, a village boy who lies when he says he can cook rice (he really needs the job!). He becomes the cook, the nanny, the houseboy and the courageous heart of Olanna and Odenigbo's family.
It is one thing to read about the violence taking place in locations like this; it is another thing entirely to have to WATCH it! I found the horrific slaughters to be shocking and upsetting and there were times when I despaired of our folks making it through with their lives. The massacre at the airport was particularly distressing.

I had a lot of trouble making out the details of the political maneuvers because I really needed closed captions. I don't know if others had the same trouble with this excellent film.
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Here is a link to a preview:
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