Bravo Gimash Sew

By Yelibenwork Ayele
Ethiopian Reporter

Gimash Sew is a clear sign that the art of filmmaking in Ethiopia is growing step by encouraging step. The film abounds with fascinating characters and true-to-life dialogue. One of the most interesting characters is Tadesse (Shimeles Bekele) who is stinking rich and wastes thousands of birr buying everybody in a bar a drink, yet so mean that he cannot throw a few hundreds of birr to his poor sister. In word and deed, he is the epitome of hypocrasy and sexual immorality. "Everybody, I'm your sponsor tonight," Tadesse declares to an applauding host of beer guzzlers. Shimeles plays his part so convincingly.

Tadesse's guilty conscience makes him uneasy around his friends and family yet his mind brazenly tries to hide his shame with clever turn of phrases. He goes on fooling everybody but only for a while. The truth must be revealed and he must see his own shame exposed to the sight of his own family hint by small frightening hint.

In most families, girls are more open to their mother than they are to their father especially when it comes to problems besetting them from the onset of puberty onwards. Strangely enough, in Gimash Sew the father stumbles on his daughter's private pains and keeps them from his wife. The girl's mother only picks up bits of clue and their true significance. But this departure from the social norm suits the final twist of the plot and, therefore, I do not find it too wide of the mark.

The only obvious flaw in the casting and acting is a police man at the gate of a police station. He stops a girl on her way into the station and searches her. The entire audience murmured and laughed with objection.

For the girl is a rape victim. She is an educated girl from a wealthy family and one who shrinks from the pure, affectionate touches of her own beloved father because of her most recent, traumatizing experience. Seeing in what state of mind she is, submission to the searching hands of a police man running all over her body does not wash with her.

I only wish the title of the film were not part of the dialogue. This is a common style in radio and TV dramas as well as some films. For example, Timir Mistir, a radio drama, Mengedegna Mushera, a TV drama and Kezkaza Welafen, a feature film take their titles from dialogue. And one thing they all have in common is that they take their title phrases from conversation toward the last minutes of the drama or film.

And it is usually, perhaps fittingly, a phrase from the mouth of either the hero or the villain. In most cases, as in Gimash Sew and Kezkaza Wolafen 2, the phrase comes as a gem of home-spun philosophy inspired by a moment of desperation, anger or disillusionment in the case of Gimash Sew.

Such titles mostly describe a character in the story but, instead of trusting the audience to be perceptive enough to see which of the characters fits the descriptive title, the films and dramas tend to hurl the obvious in our face. I wish they could be a little more subtle than that.

In some films, such phrases coined on the spur of the moment by a character speaking emotionally, are followed by an explanation studded with poetic beauty. For example, it is too poetic for the police officer in Kezkaza Welafen 2. Fortunately, in Gimash Sew, the man who coins the title phrase does not wax too poetic after saying it.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with using a phrase from dialogue for a title. There is no law against it. But when it becomes a kind of trend for many films and dramas to follow, it will gradually lose its appeal. For me, it has already lost its bloom.

Source: Ethiopian Reporter