A young lawyer travels to an Ethiopian village to represent Hirut, a 14-year-old girl who shot her would-be husband as he and others were practicing one of the nation's oldest traditions: abduction into marriage.
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Three hours outside of Addis Ababa, a bright 14-year-old girl is on her way home from school when men on horses swoop in and kidnap her. The brave Hirut grabs a rifle and tries to escape, but ends up shooting her would-be husband. In her village, the practice of abduction into marriage is common and one of Ethiopia's oldest traditions. Meaza Ashenafi, an empowered and tenacious young lawyer, arrives from the city to represent Hirut and argue that she acted in self-defense. Meaza boldly embarks on a collision course between enforcing civil authority and abiding by customary law, risking the continuing work of her women's legal-aid practice to save Hirut's life. Written by
Sundance Film Festival
A bright 14-year-old girl is on her way home from school when men on horses swoop in and kidnap her. But brave Hirut (Tizita Hagere) grabs a rifle and tries to escape, but ends up shooting her captor. Meaza Ashenafi (Meron Getnet), a woman lawyer, arrives from the city to represent Hirut and argue that she acted in self-defense. Meaza embarks on a collision course between enforcing civil authority and abiding customary law, risking the work of her women's legal-aid practice to save Hirut's life. Based on a true story, the film brings to the forefront the immoral patriarchal culture of Ethiopia where the tradition is to kidnap girls to marry them. It also informs of the efforts of the gradual change brought on through progressive court laws. There are from time to time slow and dramatic overstatements, scenes that make the film 'filmy' like cranking up the score during the initial abduction of Hirut or diffusing the tension of a car chase by exiting the scene with a fade to black not long after it begins. To make the film look real everything in it is spelled out through dialogues and nothing is nuanced reducing the hangover from the movie.
However, "Difret" is an undeniably powerful unpacking one of the ugliest stories imaginable making it worth your time and thought.
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