The two-hour movie starts with a scene in which armed fighters storm a village party and forcefully take away young boys to join their ranks. Those who attempt to flee are shot in cold blood and left for dead in the arms of their helpless, wailing mothers.
Set in Ethiopia in the 1970s, and directed by Ethiopian film maker Haile Gerima, Teza or Morning Dew tells the story of the fall of their last emperor, Haile Selassie, in 1974.
Morning Dew is one of 44 films that were featured during the first Euro-Africa Film Festival at the theatre La Bonita in Kampala last month.
In 2008, the picture won the Special Jury Prize at the Venice Festival, and in 2009 it won the best African Film at the Panafrican Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou.
Although Haile Selassie was in exile during the Italian invasion, he managed to get support from outside Ethiopia and eventually overthrew the colonialists. After reinstating his rule in 1941, he implemented well-intentioned economic, social and education reforms.
However, his efforts were undermined by a growing rebellion from Eritrea and prolonged famine. In 1974, Mengistu Haile Mariam overthrew him; his death marked the beginning of a 15-year reign of terror in Ethiopia.
Loaded with emotional scenes and nerve-wrecking violence, the film takes us through the terror under the Mengistu-led Derg, a communist military Junta that governed Ethiopia from 1974 to 1987. Mengistu became the president of the People’s Democratic Republic of Ethiopia from 1987 to 1991; he is currently exiled in Zimbabwe.
The film is rich with themes of love, forgiveness, revolution, genocide, and racism in Europe against immigrants. It shows the suffering of children of mixed race, and the struggles of individuals to find their place in the country.
We see the sufferings, confusion and frustrations of ordinary Ethiopians inside Ethiopia, and in West Germany, through the main character Anberber.
Anberber is a young Ethiopian post graduate doctor who comes back from Germany at the peak of the Cold War under the Mengistu regime. While working in a hospital, he witnesses a number of murders — including one of his best friends, and finds himself at odds with the revolutionary fighters running the country.
source: the eastafrican