Nigeria delays Biafran war film!

Nigeria’s film board has delayed the release of Half of a Yellow Sun, a film about the Biafran war.

The film, by Nigerian-born British director Biyi Bandele, was set to open in Nigerian cinemas on Friday.

A film board spokesman told AFP there were “regulatory issues” with the film but that it wasn’t “officially banned”.

The film is based on a novel by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie about the 1967-70 civil war, in which more than a million people died.

Aliyu Tanko, from the BBC Hausa service, says that more than 40 years after the end of the war, the subject remains extremely sensitive in Nigeria.

Some fear the film, which is seen as sympathetic to the Biafran separatist cause, could stoke up ethnic tensions, he says.

The book was released in Nigeria but with the country’s high rates of illiteracy, a film is likely to get more attention.

Mr Bandele told the BBC’s Focus on Africa programme that he wasn’t sure why the censorship board had delayed certification.

The Nigeria film board saw the film seven months ago, Mr Bandele said.

“What’s frustrating is we have not received a formal letter from the board telling us we’ve been banned, or that we’ve not been banned,” he added.

He denied the film was biased and stressed that he did not see how it could incite violence.

The director also said the film raised issues which Nigeria badly needed to discuss.

“One of the reasons Nigeria is more divided today – 40 years after the end of the war – than it was before the war started, is because we have refused to talk about the elephant in the room.”

The film features Twelve Years a Slave actor Chiwetel Ejiofor and Crash star Thandie Newton.

BBC © 2014
25 April 2014 16:27

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Chiwetel Ejiofor tipped as James Bond’s next arch-nemesis

Forget 007’s lovers, his boss M or even gadget expert extraordinaire Q; everyone knows there is only one true co-star in each James Bond movie: his arch-nemesis. That’s how Goldfinger, Dr No, Blofeld and Le Chiffre, the most memorable Bond villains, have become almost as treasured in British film culture as the great spy himself.

That makes landing the coveted role a very big deal for the actor in question. That man, industry reports insist, is Chiwetel Ejiofor, the Oscar-nominated star of 12 Years a Slave. If true, he would follow Javier Bardem, another Oscar favourite, who was electrifying as Raoul Silva in the most recent Bond film, Skyfall, which took $1.1bn (£660m) at the box office. As then, Sam Mendes will direct.

Ejiofor, whose recent performances on the big screen and on stage have cemented him among Britain’s acting elite, would join Daniel Craig as Bond, Ralph Fiennes as M, Naomi Harris as Moneypenny; and Ben Whishaw as Q. Production of the 24th film, which is scheduled to be released on 6 November 2015, is due to start this summer.

David Black, chairman of the James Bond International Fan Club, said yesterday: “If the production company can hook an actor of Ejiofor’s calibre for a key role they’ll be well on their way to another winner. He named The Godfather and Fargo as two of his all-time favourite films – that must say something about his likes for a good villain.”

Daniel Craig in a ‘Casino Royale’ promotional still Since his performance as Solomon Northup in Twelve Years a Slave, the 36-year-old actor has dominated the limelight. Ejiofor was born into a Nigerian family in south-east London and studied at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts. He played a villain early on in his career with the part of The Operative in the 2005 film Serenity.

He has also had leading roles in Dirty Pretty Things, Children of Men and Four Brothers. He is currently filming Z for Zachariah, an American sci-fi film, and Triple Nine, in which he plays a cop alongside Kate Winslet, Woody Harrelson and Casey Affleck.

Iconic James Bond villains

The prospective Bond casting has not met with everyone’s approval. Ashley Clark, film critic for Sight & Sound, the BFI, and Little White Lies, said: “It’s a shame that we’re not hearing that he’s been cast as the first black Bond.

“I guess we’ll have to wait some time for that… though I’m sure it will happen one day. That said, Ejiofor playing a villain will probably rule him out from doing the role himself, which is a shame.”

Kate Upton and Helen Flanagan are among the list of actresses rumoured to be cast as the new Bond girl. And the search is still on for a Scandinavian love interest for the spy. MGM and Sony declined to comment on the latest speculation.

Although a phoney Bond trailer, called Come and Dive has been fooling fans in recent weeks, the official title and plot details of the next film in the spy franchise have yet to be announced.

Dave Calhoun, global film editor at Time Out, backed Ejiofor, saying: “He’s a fine and variable actor who has shone in sci-fi, drama, comedy and more, so he’s more than capable of playing a Bond villain.

“What’s less predictable is the script. If the villain is ill-conceived, like Mathieu Amalric’s in Quantum of Solace, then it doesn’t matter who plays him. It won’t work.

“In the last film, Bardem’s great villain was a triumph of actor, director and script. It’s never one alone.”

April 6, 1:00 AM
By Kitty Knowles, Maya Oppenheim

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