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Film reviews

This is an epic film of outstanding beauty from prolific director Haile Gerima (his other films include Hour Glass, Child of Resistance, Bush Mama and Harvest 3,000 Years. At times it’s harrowing, other times uplifting. It speaks volumes about families, politics, social issues. Every aspect of life is covered and it details the major political events in Ethiopia over 30 years, tracking the life of Anberber by flashbacks to his studies and work in Germany and his return to his family in Ethiopia.
Both visually and verbally poetic; genuine in its coverage of Ethiopia. There is memorable and pulsating music especially during the end credits. Right from the start it is a great experience. There is so much depth and detail to appreciate in this film. Not surprisingly it has already won several awards in many categories at film festivals, notably the 2008 Carthage Film Festival. It is now on DVD, for sale via trigon-films

13 Months of Sunshine
Inspired by true events, this is an optimistic portrayal ofestablished Ethiopian immigrant community in USA. The film focuses on Solomon and Hanna’s marriage of convenience and goes through their romance and aspirations. Will appeal to Ethiopians in a similar situation who can relate to themselves or other family members. Depicts family values, dreams and achievements. When Solomon talks about coffee it has a deeper meaning too. A double meaning of the Ethiopian-specific title also becomes evident as the film progresses.
Punctuated by appropriate music including 'Home' by Bole 2 Harlem.

Live and Become
This is an amazing, epic, and even edifying film. It explores issues of identity, culture, religion and abandonment. These issues are cleverly intertwined with a romantic subplot and beautiful cinematography, making the result enjoyable and palatable. It starts in Ethiopia and then there are references back using imagery at significant moments which one can identify with if one knows anything about Africa.
Three different actors play the part of Schlomo to show different stages of his life – as a nine year old, a young teenager and then a young adult. Schlomo shows resilience and determination in his circumstances and sometimes needs to express his opinions – he gets the opportunity to speak but also takes action when words won’t suffice.
Schlomo’s real mother sends him off to a new life with another ‘mother’, then he also has to cope with having adoptive parents. He is convinced that he will eventually meet his real mother again.
The end may be slightly unrealistic but is nevertheless uplifting.
Review by Anne and Esther Wanjie