Director of Ethiopian Indie Difret on his Award-Winning Film

April 11, 2014 § Leave a comment

Zeresenay Berhane Mehari introduces his film "Difret" at the AFI Silver Theatre

Zeresenay Berhane Mehari introduces his film “Difret” at the AFI Silver Theatre

It’s hard to imagine how one could see Difret, the independent film by Ethiopian filmmaker Zeresenay Berhane Mehari, and not want to do something about the issue of violence against women and girls. That is how I felt after the award-winning film screened last month at AFI Silver Theatre as part of TransAfrica Forum’s New African Films Festival. And clearly that was part of the director’s intent. Difret recounts a landmark 1996 case in Ethiopia where a lawyer, Meaza Ashenafi, already a fearless advocate for women, takes up the defense of a young teen girl, Hirut Assefa, who has killed the man who abducted her. The practice of abducting young girls into marriage had been a tradition in Ethiopia for centuries, and Hirut’s reaction gets her condemned to death, prompting Ms. Ashenafi to become embroiled in an impassioned battle to save her life. Standing up to entrenched customs and beliefs is a courageous tack if you’re an African « Read the rest of this entry »

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