Beti and Amare

African Pictures

SIFF Says:

"That it even exists is a small miracle in itself, but the fact that Andy Siege’s Ethiopian fairytale/allegory—reputedly made for less than $7,000—is rife with visual invention and oddly affecting narrative tropes is further cause for celebration. It’s 1936 and the war between Italy and Ethiopia has forced young Beti (Hiwot Asres) to seek refuge with her elderly uncle in the latter’s shack in the middle of a desolate plain. When her uncle has to take a trip, she is left to fend off the three local thugs who threaten to rape her on her trips to the local watering hole. It is there, one day, she discovers a human-like form that has fallen from the sky. She cares for the injured alien, names him Amare and a strange relationship begins to develop… Siege alternates between black and white and color images, and puts the accent on the dreamlike aspects of his audacious tale. He has made a film that manages to stay with the viewer long after the lights have gone up."

Stranger Says:

Everything was going along fine until the minute I saw on the screen a black woman carrying a white man on her back. Right then and there, all the air went out of this movie. Yes, the white man is a vampire/alien or something like that. And, yes, the whole setting of the story is in a fantastic or mythic or sci-fi place that has some trippy connections with the history of modern Ethiopia. And yes, it has a number of impressive scenes, such as the one with the big balls of fire blazing across the stark East African sky. But I will never get over that black woman carrying the body of a white man on her back. Sorry. I’m stuck right there. It’s still too soon. You feeling me? (CHARLES MUDEDE)

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Film Credits
Andy Siege
Hiwot Asres, Pascal Dawson, Biniyam Kore, Yonas An Kidane, Delelegne Sharwe
SIFF 2015