Teza, Portrait of an Ethiopian Exile
Spanning two decades of his nation's fraught history and invoking the legacy of at least three more, Haile Gerima's Teza confronts the paradoxical position of a certain generation of Ethiopian intellectual that includes both the director and his lead character. Arriving back at his native village in 1990, after nearly 20 years of exile in Germany and Addis Ababa, Anberber (Aaron Arefe) finds his memory of the past wiped clean. But after a dizzying overture whose fevered mixture of nightmare and gauzy remembrance mirrors Anberber's fractured mental state, a Proustian splash of water abruptly rewinds the film to the early '70s. Moving from Anberber's days as an idealistic socialist in Cologne through his growing awareness of the horrors of Mengistu's government in the '80s to the upheavals of 1990, Teza asks, in the face of the intractable forces of history, what relationship can an activist-minded citizen hope to maintain with his country? While occasionally weakened by some impressionistic flourishes that the director isn't quite imaginative enough to pull off, Gerima's film stands as a richly expansive portrait of a man caught between an untenable exile and the terrible consequences of his homeland's violent past.
Get the Film & TV Newsletter
Stay up to date on the best new movies with our critics' latest reviews, interviews and trailers for the films coming to a theater near you each week.
More Film News
- Scott Adkins Plays a Badass Actually Named ‘Colt McReady’ In the Effective ‘Close Range’
- Meet the Pole Who Tried to Warn the World About the Holocaust in ‘Karski & the Lords...
- Jane Fonda Faced Down the Seventies and a Killer in Pakula’s Masterful ‘Klute’
- He’ll Get Your Head Shaking: Surveying the Start of Chung Mong-hong’s (Likely) Great...