Half of a Yellow Sun

scene from the film HALF OF A YELLOW SUN
scene from the film HALF OF A YELLOW SUN

Playwright Biyi Bandele’s 2014 film Half of a Yellow Sun is based on Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s evocative novel about Nigeria’s Biafran war.

Set in the late 1960s, the film centers on two glamorous sisters from a wealthy Nigerian family, Olana and Kainene (played by Thandie Newton and Anika Noni Rose), whose paths diverge upon their return home from schooling abroad in England and amidst the political turmoil of the Nigerian civil war.

After a betrayal amongst the sisters, Olana shocks her family by marrying a “revolutionary” professor, and Kainene pursues a career as a businesswoman and surprises herself by falling in love with an English writer. 

Initially preoccupied by their own romantic dramas, the sisters soon become caught up in the events of the civil war, during  which the Igbo people sought to establish Biafra as an independent republic, and which ended in shocking violence.

This English-language romantic drama is a powerful tale of individual lives swept into the promise, disappointment, and trauma of civil war.

Part of the ongoing series African Languages, Literature, and Film, sponsored by the Institute for African Development at the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies

This film is also presented in collaboration with the program Voices & Visions in Black Media: Centering New Directions in Nollywood, which is curated by Rejoice Abutsa, a doctoral student in the Department of Performing and Media Arts. The program is organized by Samantha N. Sheppard, Associate Professor of Cinema and Media Studies, and generously supported by the Department of Performing and Media Arts.

Free tickets are available at cornellcinema.eventive.org.