Difret

101 minutes 2014

Coming home from school one day, a 14-year-old Ethiopian girl (Tizita Hagere) is surrounded by men on horseback, taken captive, and raped; the next day her attacker tells her, "Don't worry, you will soon be my wife." The tradition of marriage by abduction is still practiced in parts of Africa and central Asia, and this effective 2014 issue drama—based on the 1996 case of Aberash Bekele, who killed her attacker and was prosecuted for murder—shows how the barbaric practice was still deeply knit into the society. Angelina Jolie served as executive producer, so naturally there are big doses of heroism and uplift, as real-life women's rights attorney Meaza Ashenafi (Meron Getnet) defends the girl in the regressive tribal court and ultimately takes her case to the ministry of justice. This plays like Law and Order, but there are also striking glimpses of a backward society in rapid transition. Zeresenay Mehari directed his own script. In Amharic with subtitles.

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