Difret (SIFF 2014)

“Abducting for marriage is our tradition.”

Hirut is 14 years old when she is abducted on her way home from school, locked up in a shack, and raped by a man who intends to make her his wife. She seizes upon a unique opportunity the day following her abduction when she is able to grab her abductor’s gun and run away. When her abductors catch up to her, she shoot and kills one of them in self defense. Difret tells the story of how a women’s rights law group sought out Hirut to provide her legal defense and in doing so made women’s rights history.

Provided Film Synopsis
Winner of Audience Awards at both Sundance and Berlin, Ethiopian-born writer-director Zeresenay Berhane Mehari's exceptional Difret confronts one of Ethiopia's oldest traditions-the practice of marriage abduction. The film is based on the true story of Hirut, a rural 14-year-old girl who is kidnapped by men on horseback and expected to marry the leader. Instead, she attempts escape and, with a stolen rifle, shoots her captor dead. Hearing about the crime, Meaza, a young lawyer and a fierce advocate for women, comes to the aid of Hirut by proposing a self-defense argument. This unprecedented action is in bold defiance of customary law, and risks the women's aid organization in which she is employed, but it is Hirut's only chance to escape a certain death sentence. Shot entirely on 35mm, the film captures an extraordinary time in the history of Ethiopia and the universal struggle for equal rights for women and children around the globe. Featuring a mesmerizing performance from Meron Getnet (a popular actress in Ethiopia) as Meaza, Difret is a high watermark for Ethiopian cinema and heralds the arrival of an exciting new creative voice from Ethiopia.

Movie Details

  • Directed By:

    • Zeresenay Berhane Mehari
  • Cast Members:

    • Meron Getnet
    • Tizita Hagere
  • Countries:

    • Ethiopia
  • Languages:

    • Amharic
    • English
  • Genres:

    • Coming of Age
    • Crime/Mystery
    • Drama
    • Political
    • Social Issues