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Half Of A Yellow Sun - Bfi, London Film Festival (semi Review)

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Abike

Well-Known Member
#21
Thanks for this note VB. Just read it properly now. I think the adaptation process/part by far is one of the things a lot of directors, screen writers struggle with when bringing a story from books to the big screen.

One thing that BUGS me though is when directors or producers say "I've always had this actor or actress in mind for this role from day one"...Arggghhh some of those their actors and actresses they've had for the role sometimes dont just fit the role, period!

But what do I know? I aint no director or producer....yet!

As mentioned earlier I didn't think I was going to get to see this film as the tickets for each venue sold out before I could blink my eyes. I heard at a different screening "Just go to a venue very early and you just might get a ticket." Risky- but it did work.

I can say what the film was like to me in one word - "Hmmmmmmm"... and obviously you all know what I mean BUT...

Beautifully shot and on the most part beautifully acted is about as good as it gets. Coupled with wonderful music. Chiwetel & Onyeka Owenu are by far the best things in the film. And the costumes were brilliant!

Probably because we all know the book the film simply lacks a heartbeat and far too much 'characterisation' is lost (or rather not explored), as well as, part of the plot being just 'suggested'.

I think the adaptation of the book just isn't anywhere near strong enough; people that have not read the book will probably like it much more than I did.

I'm not going to go into much detail but I'm sure that 'real' Nigerians, that are obviously far closer to the 'story', will at most 'like' the film (not that I think we are the primary audience)... I doubt any of 'us' will crossover into 'love' for the film.

Of the 2 Nigerian films I saw at the BFI this year I personally prefered 'Mother of George'... which even though is a told-a-million-times 'Nollywood' story felt so much more authentic and exciting. Even 'Onye Ozi', a very, very low-budget film, that premiered 3 days ago, entertained me about a hundred times more than this.

Oh well, I'm glad I've seen it, will not be buying the DVD. I will, however, be seeing it again if & when it gets a general release in the cinemas here with friends just so we can chat about it afterwards.

My highlights of the night - getting my pic taken with the Director (sadly this showing didn't have a Q&A). And meeting some very interesting people that didn't have tickets at the time either lol... we all went for a coffee afterwards.
 

Village-Boi

Well-Known Member
#22
Thanks for this note VB. Just read it properly now. I think the adaptation process/part by far is one of the things a lot of directors, screen writers struggle with when bringing a story from books to the big screen.
True, it's not easy. Look at what happened for Lord Of The Rings to be made - (nutshell version of things) - First it should have been two films, then cut to one because of the budget was too high. 'Problems' could have killed it off and then a different studio now agree on three. And this how-many-films-are-we-making process, with soooo many people & different studios involved, took a long time.
 

moviewizard

Well-Known Member
#23
From the book, looks to me that casting Thandie as Olanna was apt. Especially with the features and all. Didn't the book also say she had british accent? I remember there was a hospital scene where someone attacked the doctor for attending to Olanna before them even though she came late and she said 'Is it because she talks like an oyinbo'?

So i guess those revolting haven't even read the book. Complaining about accent, same one the book said her character has.
 

Village-Boi

Well-Known Member
#24
From the book, looks to me that casting Thandie as Olanna was apt. Especially with the features and all. Didn't the book also say she had british accent? I remember there was a hospital scene where someone attacked the doctor for attending to Olanna before them even though she came late and she said 'Is it because she talks like an oyinbo'?

So i guess those revolting haven't even read the book. Complaining about accent, same one the book said her character has.
Spot on. Yesterday I wanted to post a video in this thread from the 60s showing market traders in Lagos practically speaking the queen's english, sadly I couldn't find it. Our Naija people seem to not remember that there were so many missionary schools back in the days and it was pretty common to be taught English by the English! Some of the suggested casting here and all over the Internet seriously get as e be.
 

moviewizard

Well-Known Member
#25
Spot on. Yesterday I wanted to post a video in this thread from the 60s showing market traders in Lagos practically speaking the queen's english, sadly I couldn't find it. Our Naija people seem to not remember that there were so many missionary schools back in the days and it was pretty common to be taught English by the English! Some of the suggested casting here and all over the Internet seriously get as e be.

Exactly! I just found it weird that people were calling for Thandie's head because she didn't have Nigerian accent when the book never said her character did. If they had cast a Nigerian, they would have made her speak 'oyinboish'. Ask my people what the book is about and they won't tell you anything beyond the obvious that we already got from press releases and media buzz. Didn't Nigeria even shun the book when it first came out? Until it became a major hit outside the shores, scoring rave reviews in the US and worldwide....

Me i want to sha see the film. I see the issues you have with the film and they are genuine, as someone who has read the book extensively, you didn't get that 'feel' you got from visually reading the book. I even had someone tell me she didn't think the book should have been made into a narrative,she thought it would work for those tv dramas that air like in few episodes as there was so much that needed to be told.

At the end of the day, i think it's only fair (hard though) to try and watch outside the 'box' of the book. Because most times directors like to create their own version, their own story, tweak this and that and the book suffers mightily so i would try and just enjoy a movie about an interesting story with great actors.
 

Village-Boi

Well-Known Member
#26
Me i want to sha see the film. I see the issues you have with the film and they are genuine, as someone who has read the book extensively, you didn't get that 'feel' you got from visually reading the book.
Without a doubt it is beautifully shot and I'm sure you'll be glad to see it. I did enjoy it but far too much expectation over the year or so that we've waited for it as well as a few other things obviously did play a part in it not wowing me. I did say I'll see it again and hopefully outside the 'box' of the book and outside the 'box' of the other films I prefered of which 'Mother Of George' had a superb wow factor and 'Onye Ozi' was just so entertaining.

When you do get to watch it I'm pretty sure you'll see exactly what I meant when I said, "the film simply lacks a heartbeat and far too much 'characterisation' is lost"... and not just from reading the book. But as you said it is an interesting story with great actors.
 

moviewizard

Well-Known Member
#27
Without a doubt it is beautifully shot and I'm sure you'll be glad to see it. I did enjoy it but far too much expectation over the year or so that we've waited for it as well as a few other things obviously did play a part in it not wowing me. I did say I'll see it again and hopefully outside the 'box' of the book and outside the 'box' of the other films I prefered of which 'Mother Of George' had a superb wow factor and 'Onye Ozi' was just so entertaining.

When you do get to watch it I'm pretty sure you'll see exactly what I meant when I said, "the film simply lacks a heartbeat and far too much 'characterisation' is lost"... and not just from reading the book. But as you said it is an interesting story with great actors.



Interesting that you mentioned 'onye ozi', didn't quite like the trailer, but maybe that is a good thing as i wasn't too impressed with the director's previous works even though the trailers had me all gingered up. Loved 'Mother of George' for how delicately shot it was and director's confidence was boldly written all over the film, with unconventional choices he made in telling that simple story we have seen over and over yet turned out refreshing.

Funny thing is i never got the feel of 'i have seen this before' from watching 'Mother of George', i only got that from reading the synopsis. The film felt like something totally different, with lots of layers, so many things thrown into the unspoken and i was marveled as i had never seen anything like it, not even in Hollywood.
 

Village-Boi

Well-Known Member
#28
Interesting that you mentioned 'onye ozi', didn't quite like the trailer, but maybe that is a good thing as i wasn't too impressed with the director's previous works even though the trailers had me all gingered up. Loved 'Mother of George' for how delicately shot it was and director's confidence was boldly written all over the film, with unconventional choices he made in telling that simple story we have seen over and over yet turned out refreshing.

Funny thing is i never got the feel of 'i have seen this before' from watching 'Mother of George', i only got that from reading the synopsis. The film felt like something totally different, with lots of layers, so many things thrown into the unspoken and i was marveled as i had never seen anything like it, not even in Hollywood.
Onye Ozi with all honesty is so low budget (or looks it) and not even shot that well but it's a comedy; also because it's in Ibo there are certain things in the dialogue that were just really funny and that added to making it a hugely entertaining film for me. No excuses here but many people will see it and go "wtf??" simply because for the pedigree of director that Obi Emelonye is, quite frankly, it looks like an old student film. His failings remain post-production because how do you shoot on an Arri Alexa or 'RED' and it ends up looking like that? You know he had that James Costello guy as his DOP again... could be part of the 'looks' issue.


Mother of George is simply a light-year ahead of HOAYS, there is no comparison when it comes to the filmmaking experience of both directors or their use of the film language... just none. However, let's not forget that Mr Bandele is a first-time film director and as such has done a very good job. The devil really is in the 'project' he picked to be his first 'film directing' gig... yikes... it's a hard sell.

Oh and Mother Of George is presently my film of the year... it was that surprisingly good... and as you said, not even a Hollywood film has done that to me this year.
 
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moviewizard

Well-Known Member
#29
Onye Ozi with all honesty is so low budget (or looks it) and not even shot that well but it's a comedy; also because it's in Ibo there are certain things in the dialogue that were just really funny and that added to making it a hugely entertaining film for me. No excuses here but many people will see it and go "wtf??" simply because for the pedigree of director that Obi Emelonye is, quite frankly, it looks like an old student film. His failings remain post-production because how do you shoot on an Arri Alexa and it ends up looking like that? You know he had that James Costello guy as his DOP again... could be part of the 'looks' issue.


Mother of George is simply a light-year ahead of HOAYS, there is no comparison when it comes to the filmmaking experience of both directors or their use of the film language... just none. However, let's not forget that Mr Bandele is a first-time film director and as such has done a very good job. The devil really is in the 'project' he picked to be his first 'film directing' gig... yikes... it's a hard sell.

Oh and Mother Of George is presently my film of the year... it was that surprisingly good... and as you said, not even a Hollywood film has done that to me this year.


lol, wasnt Last flight shot on Arri Alexa too? That doesn't even look an inch close to an Alexa raw/untouched footage but then...... i could tell from Onye Ozi trailer, it didn't look too good and i saw the camera they used in the BTS. It all boils down to lighting and know-how. I don't think the Costello guy is bad, as he was the DP for Jeta's 'black november' and the trailer looks way better than any of Emelonye's films.


You know i just suddenly realized HOAYS is Bandele's debut feature. And he chose an adaptation of a critically acclaimed book. I'll give him an A for having the balls.
 

Village-Boi

Well-Known Member
#30
lol, wasnt Last flight shot on Arri Alexa too? That doesn't even look an inch close to an Alexa raw/untouched footage but then...... i could tell from Onye Ozi trailer, it didn't look too good and i saw the camera they used in the BTS. It all boils down to lighting and know-how. I don't think the Costello guy is bad, as he was the DP for Jeta's 'black november' and the trailer looks way better than any of Emelonye's films.


You know i just suddenly realized HOAYS is Bandele's debut feature. And he chose an adaptation of a critically acclaimed book. I'll give him an A for having the balls.
Yeah Last Flight was the Alexa, from what I've seen on some Onye Ozi BTS I think it was a RED but it's a very low quality upload. Might not be a DOP issue but there is definitely a post issue as capture tools - final look are just off.

Well said, Mr Bandele seriously has balls for picking that.
 

moviewizard

Well-Known Member
#31
Yeah Last Flight was the Alexa, from what I've seen on some Onye Ozi BTS I think it was a RED but it's a very low quality upload. Might not be a DOP issue but there is definitely a post issue as capture tools - final look are just off.

Well said, Mr Bandele seriously has balls for picking that.


There are two other films by Nigerian filmmakers that showed at the London Film Festival. B for Boy and Gone too far, did you by chance see any of them?
 

Village-Boi

Well-Known Member
#32
There are two other films by Nigerian filmmakers that showed at the London Film Festival. B for Boy and Gone too far, did you by chance see any of them?
No, unfortunately I didn't. But I wanted to see B for Boy, sadly the date/time I could get was out of the question. Gone too Far didn't interest me enough to want to watch during the festival... will see both at some point. I have the BFI magazine with every single film that played and there are a 'zillion' things to watch out for.
 

moviewizard

Well-Known Member
#33
No, unfortunately I didn't. But I wanted to see B for Boy, sadly the date/time I could get was out of the question. Gone too Far didn't interest me enough to want to watch during the festival... will see both at some point. I have the BFI magazine with every single film that played and there are a 'zillion' things to watch out for.


oh okay.
 

Kala Lou

Well-Known Member
#35
Some of the reviews for Yellow Sun haven't been too encouraging, but I still want to see the movie, want to see what a big budget Naija movie looks like. Mother of George is at the top of my must see Naija movie list tho. The trailer for Onye Ozi was lacking...it looked like a bad Osufia InLondon, lets face facts, Osufia was bad too. How come when you watch the BTS of these "New" Nollywood movies, you see the crew using all these high end cameras like the RED but when you watch the final product..the footage looks slightly beter than a consumer camcorder, is it that they don't know how to use the gear, or color grade the footage...still highly disappointed with the look of Last Flight. Looks like all these 4K cameras and the like nah just for show...cept in the case of The Meeting.
 
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