DIFRET_Dir. Zeresenay Mehari

Film Africa is here! So excited are we to have finally arrived, in anticipation of tonight’s wonderful opening night film, The Narrow Frame of Midnight, we have a review of another story of strong young female presence with the blisteringly good DIFRET:

 Difret is a story about courage that needs to be told again and again. Based on a true story, movie Difret pictures a clash between modern and traditional Ethiopia. With an engaging story, strong characters and frequent twists of action it’s a real treat for those interested in Ethiopian cinema and country’s reality.

Difret tells a story of Hirut, a smart schoolgirl living in rural South and Maaza a young single lawyer who lives in Addis Ababa and runs a non-governmental organisation fighting for women rights. Their stories intertwine when Hirut is accused of killing a man from her village who abducted and raped her, with the intention to enforce marriage against her and her parents will. Maaza and Hirut meet each other at the police station where the girl is detained. Later on they have a chance to get to know each other better in the course of the court process and when Hirut remains in her lawyer’s custody in the city.

Initially Hirut is bewildered by Addis Ababa. Phones, cars, TV, fridges – all those things are new to her. She is also surprised with Maaza lifestyle and starts asking questions about her marital status and living according to tradition. Difret is a film about ideologies and customs, giving startling insight into a current Ethiopia and the challenges the country faces.

Full of opposition and conflict, Difret succinctly explores life in Ethiopia in the second half of 1990s. New generations lock heads with the older ones, men are against women, rural areas against cities, modern against the traditional and so on. We see modern courts dealing with Hirut’s case but before it happens it is a village court under the tree that decides the fate of the young girl.

Despite so many differences presented in the movie, Difret doesn’t take sides in the complexity of Ethiopian culture. Everyone is given a chance to make their own decision, the same way Hirut does in the end. In the process of action we see her growing up to become a young woman who knows what she wants to do with her own life.

Difret which in Amharic means “courage” tells many different stories but the most important is the one of a young girl standing up to her rights. Let’s not take it lightly as another story of heroic female character but looking at the world around us let’s remember that we need strong woman making right choices and leading others to a right direction.

Joanna Sopylo-Firrisa

Thanks again to Joanna for a wonderful review.

See for yourself the powerful Difret and buy your tickets now:


Return tomorrow for highlights of Opening Night. Come relive the fun and find out more recommendations for Film Africa 2014.