“He was a storyteller to his bones, with an unblinking perspective, singular voice and wisdom which spoke boldly through all of his art.” These were Temi Bandele’s words while announcing the death of her father, the popular Nigerian filmmaker, Biyi Bandele.
On 7, August, 2022, the news of the brilliant filmmaker’s passing rocked social networks as well as news outlets.
Biyi Bandele is a Nigerian filmmaker, popular for directing multiple blockbuster Nollywood movies. He was a big name in the movie industry known to be versatile, iconic and surely, his name will live on.
As a tribute to a star who lived a life of purpose, we look into his books, plays, and films.
His Life Of Books
When we say that Biyi Bandele is versatile, his achievements speaks for him.
In 1991, he published a novel titled ‘The Man Who Came in from the Back of Beyond’ and also published ‘The Street’ in 1999. These two books written by him were described as “rewarding read, capable of wild surrealism and wit as well as political engagement.”
In 2007, his novel ‘Burma Boy’ was reviewed in The Independent, and praised for giving a voice to unheard Africans.
The depth of the messages in his novels and the reviews goes to show how much of a brilliant writer he was.
His Life Of Plays
His impressive life of plays can be traced back to prestigious places such as the Royal Court Theatre, the Royal Shakespeare Company, with a couple of plays in his name.
In 1993, Bandele wrote ‘Marching for Fausa,’ followed by ‘Resurrections in the Season of the Longest Drought’ in 1994. Also, his play, ‘Two Horsemen’ written in 1994 as well was selected as Best New Play at the 1994 London New Plays Festival, followed closely by ‘Death Catches the Hunter and Me and the Boys’ in 1995.
Continuing with his brilliant works of art, he created an incredible dramatization of Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart in 1997, followed by a few more plays.
Also, Biyi Bandele was a dramatists for prestigious theatres in the UK such as Talawa Theatre Company, and the Royal National Theatre Studio.
In his life of plays, he wrote well.
Biyi Bandele – His Life Of Films
It cannot be surprising to see a brilliant mind with such huge interest in storytelling like him eventually venture into filmmaking, which was what he did.
‘Half of A Yellow Sun’ – based on Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s novel of the same title – is the first film he directed. The movie received huge attention from home and abroad with most emphasis placed on how he translated the story and brought the characters to life.
His next feature film titled ‘Fifty’ also enjoyed lots of media attention, as well as being included in the 2015 London Film Festival.
When Biyi Bandele was announced as co-director of the Netflix Original Nigerian limited series ‘Blood Sisters,’ we knew we were in good hands. Just as well as we know we are in good hands for the forthcoming film ‘Elesin Oba, The King’s Horseman’ – an adaptation of Wole Soyinka’s stage play ‘Death and the King’s Horseman.’
We can go on about the many works of Biyi Bandele and how much his storytelling has travelled, inspired a younger generation and so on, and we might never run out of things to say. One thing however, is that he told stories that shaped imaginations all over the world.