Drawing on her memories of growing up in war-torn Ethiopia, which she left at age 11, Ethiopian-Israeli director/writer Aäläm-Wärqe Davidian has created an unflinching feature debut, set in 1989 Addis Ababa at the end of the Ethiopian Civil War. Sixteen-year-old Mina (newcomer Betalehem Asmamawe) lives with her brother and grandmother in a humble house with newsprint for wallpaper. The family is Jewish and is planning to flee Ethiopia for Israel, where Mina's mother awaits. But this plan leaves out the person Mina loves most: Eli, her Christian boyfriend, who lives in the woods so as to evade being drafted into Mengistu Haile Mariam's army. When Mina hatches a scheme to save Eli, everyone and everything seems set against her. FIG TREE offers a rare opportunity to better understand the impact of civil war on the lives of ordinary people — and it pulls no punches. Winner, Eurimages Audentia Award, 2018 Toronto International Film Festival; Official Selection, 2018 Haifa and New York Jewish film festivals. (Note adapted from Toronto International Film Festival.) DIR/SCR Aäläm-Wärqe Davidian; PROD Naomi Levari, Saar Yogev. Ethiopia/Israel/Germany/France, 2018, color, 93 min. In Amharic and Hebrew with English subtitles. NOT RATED
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