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.
Screened as part of NZIFF 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