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Atletu
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Reviews & Ratings for
Atletu More at IMDbPro »

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

A film that transcends already promising material.

8/10
Author: Jim Chevallier (jimcheval@aol.com) from North Hollywood, CA
9 November 2012

This is one of those stories that might have made a perfectly good movie of the week, given its inherent drama and interest. Instead, the tale has been transformed and heightened into something like poetry by skillful use of telling imagery and understated moments. The simple fact that it is set in Ethiopia - a country rarely seen on-screen - sets it apart and gives it a stark (and skillfully shot) beauty; details like a priest in his robes, home-bottled honey as an "unnecessary" bribe for soldiers at a barrier, a horse abandoned on a road, a traditional bard in a cheap bar, anchor it in a specific and intriguing reality. The looming tragedy of Ethiopia's later history is hinted at only by a confrontation with an arrogant cadet; this is still the essentially ancient Ethiopia of Haile Selassie, where the protagonist's car is an anomaly. The core of the movie lies in the latter's determined face as he looks beyond both the admiration and the disparagement of others towards his very personal desire to win, confronting one major unexpected obstacle with equally unexpected improvisation. We are aware throughout how very important the victories of one man were to a battered country - "It took 500,000 Italians to conquer Ethiopia; it took one Ethiopian to conquer Rome" - but the power of the film lies above all in the personal, as quietly and powerfully portrayed by newcomer Rasselas Lakew. In the near future, we should expect to hear more from both the writer/star and the director of this quietly wonderful film.

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

This movie is a triumph-both in film-making and in the heart and soul of Abebe Bakila

9/10
Author: kgdakotafan from United States
21 October 2009

Made by the humble and intelligent Rasselas Lakew and the brilliant Davey Frankel, "The Athlete" is a powerful and moving story and a well-made movie about overcoming family demons, accidents, and obstacles, shown through the tenacious and resilient Olympian Abebe Bakila. Bakila's story I assume must be particularly powerful to Rasselas Lakew, not only because it's about a hero from his homeland Ethiopia, but also because it must be a source of strength and power that he has used throughout his life. The scene with the horse blinded by his owner that Abebe and a hitchhiker came upon in their travels was beautifully shot and written. There were so many shots that were obviously taken all around the world (Bulgaria and Norway are the locations I know shooting took place.)

Ruta Gedmintas was incredible as the physical therapist at the English health center who helped Abebe through his struggle of convalescence, as was Dag Malmberg. Blending biopic, autobiography, and mostly drama, this movie was two-and-a-half hours of hard work and the movie and the story both had their triumphs.

It was an honor to be at the Chicago Film Festival for this special screening. Davey Frankel and Rasselas Lakew were present afterwards for a Q&A. Rasselas described what it was like to be a first time filmmaker and having the opportunity to collaborate with Davey Frankel to put a story that he had spent so much time researching to screen. I also talked in private with Davey Frankel about his experiences after the showing. He was incredible.

9/10

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Olympic Inspiration and Paralympic Courage

10/10
Author: tomo-12 from Newcastle
11 July 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

"The Athlete" is an uplifting story about an Ethiopian runner named Abebe Bikila who became the first black African to win a marathon gold medal at the Rome Olympics (barefoot nonetheless). Years later, he then repeated his victory and record at the Tokyo Games making him the first runner ever to accomplish this consecutively. Through all his accomplishments he managed to be his countries hero second to Ethiopia's emperor Haile Selsassie who he admired tremendously.

Abebe was a hero to his village; his own success brought his people and his land tremendous attention. People respected Abebe for who he was and what he did. In the film we see him as a family man and a serious man at that. On his way home he gets into a car accident that leaves him on the side of the rode trapped under his car for 10 hours. He is flown to England where he is brought back to consciousness but faces bad news; he is paralysed from the waist down. The true essence of the movie isn't about how an Olympian athlete deals with being paralysed but about a man's struggle with the need to compete and win. With real archival footage dispersed throughout the film, you truly get a feel for this brave mans story. This film really moved me and my friends.

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