ANBESSA (Italy, United States, Ethiopia)


Mo Scarpelli
2018, Italy, United States, Ethiopia, 85′
Swiss premiere
Media Library
Through a coming-of-age story, ANBESSA captures one boy taking on modernization on his own terms, revealing a unique and magical perspective on the myth of “progress.". Ten-year-old Asalif and his mother have been displaced from farmland on the outskirts of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, by the construction of a condominium. To fight back against those casting him out, Asalif taps into a fantasy of becoming his hero: the lion (anbessa in Amharic). His newfound power takes him to places he never imagined until finally, Asalif must find the strength that resides in him as a boy, and shed the lion persona, to deal with the quiet violence usurping a community, a country, and his own identity.
Language(s):  Amharic
VdR edition:  2019


Caitlin Mae Burke

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