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Lezare Poster
I want to start this post by thanking the people at the New York African Film Festival for letting me watch and review the two Ethiopian films showcased at this festival. I truly appreciate their gesture.
The first movie I watched is Lezare (for Today). It is a short film directed by Zelalem Woldemariam that runs for about 15 minutes, or maybe I should say that runs for 15 beautiful minutes that left me wanting more. More of that gorgeous Ethiopian colors and landscapes, more of those beautiful faces, and more of stories like this one.
The plot is simple, a sort of parable of what happens when we think about only today. It’s a clash of two worlds, the world of solving immediate needs and the world of planning for the future and how we should balance both. 
Abush is a homeless boy that lives in a village in southern Ethiopia and everyday when he gets up in the morning his main worry is how he will fill his stomach. Just in front of where he spends his nights, there is a bread shop run by a mother and her daughter. He needs to eat so he wanders the streets of his town begging for a coin that will buy some of that precious wonderful smelling bread, but everybody refuses to give any money to him, specially today. Today is special because the whole village will abandon their daily activities to gather to plant trees, trees that will improve the lives of everybody.
The stores close, the teacher dismisses his students, the children stop playing and all get together in the field to plant those little seedlings dreaming of a future forest. Abush goes with them to help and in reward the teacher gives him a coin, a coin he can use to buy bread, a coin to calm his hunger, but also a coin that can ruin everything for everybody. I won’t give away the end of the film because I think you should watch it. What I liked the most is that the only character of the story that understands what’s going on, that feels for the little boy and that tries to avoid a disaster is the little daughter of the bread shop owner, again an African woman of the future’s generation showing wisdom.
The short film is well made, it shows the life in an Ethiopian village, the different characters you could find there. The small shops, the men working with their donkeys, the school under a tree where all the kids gather to learn the Amharic alphabet, etc. But not all is picture perfect, you’ll also see the needs of the people and their daily struggles.
I loved this movie, absolutely beautiful, the photography, the actors, very well made. A message perfectly condensed in just 15 minutes of Ethiopian visual poetry.
BTW, my children’s eyes were glued to the screen. The music of the film is by the wonderful Debo Band.
You still have a chance to watch this short film along with Shooting with Mursi, that I will review soon, at the NYAFF on April 11th, don’t miss them!