If you're in the UK, congrats to you, because Biyi Bandele's Half Of A Yellow Sun - a film adaptation of celebrated author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's Orange Prize-winning novel of the same name - opened in UK theaters last week Friday, April 11; so I'm sure some of you across the pond have seen the film already, over the last week, while the rest of the world waits in anticipation (it opens in Nigeria, where the film is set, on April 25; and hits USA theaters, courtesy of Monterey Media, on May 16th).
I'm a subscriber to the blog belonging to Richard Morrison - one of the world’s leading designers of film title sequences, who happens to be based in the UK, where the film is currently in release. I wasn't aware that he had been hired to create the title sequence for Half Of A Yellow Sun until today, as I browsed through my subscription news feed, and saw the below video on Mr Morrison's blog.
Along with the sequence clip, Morrison discusses its contents in brief - specifically, summarizing how he and his team came up with what you see below, including extensive notes from director of photography, Jonathan Le Roux.
Here's a snip:
The search for the idea for the opening sequence started with thinking around the ‘main title’. Our next thought was what would give us a moving metaphor? Something which would deliver a journey, bright, glamour and hopeful. Also most importantly, an object from the time, mid 60’s in which the movie is set. The answer - Mirror Ball. As with all our sequences, a seamless entry into the first scene of the movie is imperative and the Mirror Ball again answers this with the addition of taking the view visually to Nigeria / Lagos, as you will see.
Indeed. It was immediately clear to me what they were going for; The mirror ball is an interesting choice as a focal point. I'm not sure if it would've been my choice for this particular story, but I understand why they went with it. I do appreciate how it eventually comes to represent the globe, with the African continent in focus, and Nigeria specifically highlighted. And of course, you can never really go wrong with a Miriam Makeba song (Naughty Little Flea, in this case) to compliment.
It's simple enough, but I suppose it works.
DP on the title sequence, Jonathan Le Roux, adds:
The approach we took to filming the mirror ball was to see it as a beautiful woman. So lighting her was fun. I created a black box around the mirror ball with black Polyboards and black out. This would stop any reflections in the mirror ball. I cut a small hole in the Polyboard and created a window for the lens to peek through.
Read the rest of Le Roux's notes on Morrison's blog HERE.
Before you watch it, here's a little about the man responsible for it, Richard Morrison: In a career spanning three decades, he's created over 150 title sequences – from Hollywood blockbusters such as Batman, Enemy at the Gates, A Fish called
Wanda and A Passage to India, to cult classics like Brazil, Sweeney Todd
and Quadrophenia, for directors as varied as Sir David Lean, Kenneth
Branagh and Stephen Frears, to Jean-Jacques Annaud, Ridley Scott and Tim
Burton. Over the course of 30 years, he has become the most prolific British films titles designer. He is also an author, graphic designer and lecturer, and has been chairman of Europe’s leading film and animation conference “Pencil to Pixel” since 2002. He is also a filmmaker, and is currently producing the big screen adaptation of The Dragon Conspiracy, based on a trilogy of books by P. R. Moredun.
Biyi Bandele's feature film directorial debut, stars Chiwetel Ejiofor, Thandie Newton, John Boyega, Anika Noni Rose, Joseph Mawle and Genevieve Nnaji, in a drama that weaves together the lives of four people swept up in the turbulence of civil war, with a newly independent 1960s Nigeria as the backdrop.
Produced by Bafta award-winner Andrea Calderwood (The Last King of Scotland) and Gail Ega (The Constant Gardner), the film is a British/Nigerian co-production and was shot at Tinapa Film Studio in Nigeria and in the UK.
For more info on the film's release, visit http://montereymedia.com/halfofayellowsun/.
Watch the title sequence below: