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Film Festival 09 - Teza


Ethiopia/Germany 2008, 140m
Director: Haile Gerima
Festivals: Venice, Toronto, London 2008; Rotterdam 2009

Haile Gerima (Harvest 3000 Years) is the cine-laureate of Ethiopia. His new film is an impassioned account of a country at war - and at war with itself - for 40 years. History is related through the epic journey of one man's life and defining relationships from 50s village boyhood in the shadow of Mussolini and a martyred war-hero father; through his 60s medical education in communist East Germany; then his return to Addis Ababa during Mengistu's reign of terror; and ultimately into the 90s. Though as turbulent, violent and loaded with debate as the events it describes the film remains consistently clear and gripping. History here is an infernal machine of the impossible choices that confront and subsequently haunt the conscientious protagonist. As dramatically alert to gender conflict as it is to the struggles of race and class, Teza provides potent proof that the most compelling observer is not the victor, but the survivor. - BG
In Amharic, German and English, with English subtitles