Portugal, 13 min
A journey to former capital of Ethiopia Gondar, filmed by Ico Costa, one of the most talented Portuguese filmmakers of his generation. A dive into the heart of Timkat, a fascinating purification ritual in which moments of joy, trance and religious devotion reveal a certain pride in national identity.
A journey to Gondar, the imperial city and former capital of Ethiopia, filmed by Ico Costa, one of the most talented Portuguese filmmakers of his generation. The film gradually plunges us into the heart of Timkat, a fascinating orthodox church ritual commemorating the baptism of Christ in the Jordan River. Borne by an initially distanced camera, the director’s gaze progressively loses itself in a tide of faces, music and bodies. Raw and captivating images, enhanced by a texture that highlights the timeless essence of this purification rite, in which those who are not baptised will be barred from entering the kingdom of heaven. Far removed from conventional ethnographical writing, the fragmented mise en scène and sound design sublimate a film that questions the strong ties between politics and religion. The last city to be liberated from occupation by Mussolini’s army, Gondar also celebrates Timkat as a symbol of freedom, incorporating this ritual into a tale of reconstruction of Ethiopian national identity.