Ancient Ethiopian farmlands are increasingly being cleared for dense condo development. Ten-year-old Asalif and his mother have already been displaced from their homestead to the outskirts of sprawling capital Addis Ababa, and it seems looming cranes are closing in on them again. With little to do, Asalif scavenges wires and bulbs from sprawling construction sites to literally keep the lights on in their makeshift house. Pushed around by new kids in the neighborhood, the sensitive child retreats into his imagination — the only place where he can rage like a lion against the forces he can't control. Old enough to sense impending realities but still innocent enough to play, Asalif provides an irresistibly tender foil for the city's coming-of-age story. A rare and thoroughly beautiful docufiction hybrid, ANBESSA observes the ever-forward march of progress with true originality. (Note adapted from Hot Docs Film Festival.) Official Selection, 2019 Berlin, IDFA, Hot Docs and Durban film festivals. DIR/SCR/PROD Mo Scarpelli; PROD Caitlin Mae Burke. Ethiopia/Italy/U.S., 2019, color, 85 min. In Amharic with English subtitles. NOT RATED
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