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Message from: Katerina Papadatou (
About: Re: Achebe's Things Fall Apart

Mon, 8 Apr 1996 10:36:26 -0400

Originally from: Katerina Papadatou <>
Originally dated: Mon, 8 Apr 1996 10:36:26 -0400

To my knowledge there are filmic adaptations of Chinua Achebe's Things Fall
Apart and No Longer at Ease produced by Francis Oladele with the filmic
title Bullfrog in the Sun (1972).

Nwachukwu Frank Ukadike writes about the film:
In Oladele's next film, Bullfrog in the Sun (1971), one notices an attempt
to come to terms with problems of adaptation. This film is an adaptation of
two novels, Things Fall Apart and No Longer at Ease, both by Nigeria's
well-known novelist, Chinua Achebe. The title of the film has since been
changed to reflect the original title of one of the novels, Things fall
apart. Shot in Nigeria, this film is a joint Calpenny (Nigeria), Cine 3
(West Germany), and Niagram (U.S.) production. It was directed by West
Germany's Hans-Juergen Pohland, coproduced by Francis Oladele, and its
international cast included Johnny Sekka and Elizabeth Toro. Achebe was not
pleased with the film version of his two novels, but given the fact that the
makers chose to shuttle between one novel and the other, it is easy to see
why it would be impossible to be completely faithful to either one of the
original works.
Things Fall Apart tells "the story of Obi Okonkwo, an idealistic,
adventurous Igbo man, desperately trying to prevent the holocaust towards
which his country is drifting and at the same time fighting to overcome
traditional African values in order to marry his pregnant girlfriend who
comes from an 'untouchable' group within his society. Obi seizes a radio
station in an effort to expose the corruption of the politicians in his
community and is charged with treason. A military coup frees him in time to
flee to the east and perticipate in the civil war. His survival and reunion
with his woman and child are told against a brilliantly iridescent picture
of the Nigeria of Obi's grandfather, whose resistance to British colonialism
ended in personal tradegy. Following a sociohistorical path, indicative of
Nigeria's emancipation, this film constitutes a tapestry of caustic
vignettes of contemporary life amongst pervasive scenes of squalor and

Things Fall Apart managed to play commercially in Africa but received a
mixed reception. The attempt to raise funds to launch a full-scale
commercial release in the United States failed; the opportunity for American
viewers came only when some eastern public broadcasting stations aired it on

Quoted from: Ukadike, Nwachukwu Frank. 1994: Black African Cinema.
University of California Press.

Hope it's what you wanted,

K. P.
Katerina Papadatou

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