African Women Voices
Difret, what better name for a movie so different. Directed by the Ethiopian Zeresenay Mehari and produced by Angelina Jolie and many others through a crowdfunding campaign, Difret stands in fact for “different” in Amharic, the Ethiopian language. And gosh, if it is different.
In some ways it has all the ingredients of the Hollywood movies that have so much success: a true story, a hero, a villain, a victim, suspense and surprising ending. And yet, the drama, the tension is not artificially built but its part of the story itself. Mehari did not need to emphasize violence or close on people’s crying faces to make your stomach contort. It’s enough for him to tell the story of Hirut, a young girl who was kidnapped to be given as wife to an older man and then killed him to defend herself. The rest I should not tell, you will have to watch the movie.
In the last days I have been quite fixated on violence on women on Balobeshayi, because many things happened. Recently a girl in India killed herself because she was sexually harassed by a classmate and was them embarrassed by member of her community and the school. It is never enough to state how wrong this is. And movies like Difret talk about this in an amazing way. But not only, they show pieces of cultures that are not only the American. With his candor in representing the Ethiopian society, Mehari manages to do pretty much what Hollywood has done for a very long time: build a cultural brand. And he did this while talking about something urgent. Feel free to call me boring but after Difret, the typical romantic comedy or dramas based on twisted psychological trips seem a bit dull to me.
Judge for yourself.