Screened as part of NZIFF 2009

Teza 2008

Directed by Haile Gerima

Haile Gerima’s Ethiopian epic was named as the Best African Film of the year at the 40th Pan-African Film Festival. An impassioned account of a country at war – and at war with itself – for 40 years.

Ethiopia / Germany In Amharic, English and German with English subtitles
140 minutes 35mm

Director, Screenplay


Haile Gerima
Karl Baumgartner


Mario Masini


Haile Gerima
Loren Hankin

Art directors

Patrick Dechesne
Alain-Pascal Housiaux
Seyum Ayana


Wassene Hailu-Klotz


Umbe Adan


Vijay Iyer
Jorga Mesfin


Aaron Arefe (Anberber)
Abeye Tedla (Tesfaye)
Takelech Beyene (Tadfe)
Teje Tesfahun (Azanu)
Nebiyu Baye (Ayalew)
Mengistu Zelalem (Young Anberber)
Wuhib Bayu (Abdul)
Zenahbezu Tsega (Minister)
Asrate Abrha (Cadre Leader)
Araba Evelyn Johnston-Arthur (Cassandra)
Veronika Avraham (Gabi)


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