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
True Life Tale from Ethiopia of a girl's fight for justice
Set in 1996 near Addis Abeba, Ethiopia at the age of fourteen, Hirut gets abducted after school by a gang of horseman. She is taken away as is the custom to be married to her abductor. They beat and abuse her and she decides to escape, but in doing so she manages to kill the would be husband.
The 'customs courts' dictates that a life for a life should be the case but from the start this is not an ordinary case but the law seems to be blind to the mitigating circumstances. Measza is a pro bono lawyer working for an organisation that helps the vulnerable of society and she decides to take on the case; this is their story.
Now this is based on real events and was produced by Angelina Jolie. It is all very well acted, filmed, directed and has a pacing that means you will not get bored. The story as a resonance that comes with all stories of injustice and as such – some have found it to be 'unoriginal'. However, I found this to be compelling and rewarding. It is in Amharic and sub titled in English with a run time of 99 minutes. I saw this described as 'arthouse' but I would place this firmly under the genre of drama and think this will appeal to lovers of World cinema and those who like a story told plain with all ambiguity forgotten – recommended.
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