Director: Haile Gerima
Running Time: 150 min
Based in the U.S., Haile Gerima returned to his native Ethiopia to shoot this massive, staggering reflection on Ethiopia amidst the collapse of Haile Selassie’s uncaring regime prior to the military takeover.
Tenants work in various capacities on a farm riddled with echoes of feudal colonialism.Work is treated neutrally; it isn’t sanctified, in the silent Soviet manner, or identified with oppression. Rather, it is the landlord, equipped with an absolute sense of entitlement, and the social structure he represents that attach oppressed lives to the farm laborers. Indolent (he even has to be “shoed” by a servant to be ready for church), the landlord berates the shoeless farmers for indolence—a charge that images of their field and other labor piercingly refute.