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Ethiopia | 2015 | 94 minutes | Yared Zeleke

After he is sent to live with his uncle in a small farming village, 9-year-old Ephraim must protect his beloved pet lamb from a traditional holiday sacrifice. Meanwhile, his headstrong female cousin challenges customs in her own way.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

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Although he was raised in one of the most chaotic and conflict-ridden eras of Ethiopia's history, in his enchanting directorial debut director Yared Zeleke chose to focus as much on humor and tender connections as on heartache, in a story set amid an extended Jewish family in rural Ethiopia. After the death of his mother, Ephraim's father leaves him with distant relatives in a hillside yurt. Young Ephraim brings his beloved lamb, Chuni, with him. Ephraim's disdainful uncle is excited at the prospect of some tasty meat at an upcoming feast, and tells Ephraim he will become a man by sacrificing the animal. But Chuni is the sole point of continuity in Ephraim's life—and, in a sort of inverse of the Biblical Isaac story, boy and beast head for a distant mountain to save themselves. Along the way, the women of the household prove Ephraim's best allies. Beautifully shot by Josée Deshaies (Saint Laurent) and refreshingly unsentimental despite its child's-eye view, Lamb has the texture and authenticity of classic ethnographic art-house films, affording us precious insights into another way of life.

Director Biography
In 2015, Yared Zeleke became the first Ethiopian director to have a film selected for the Cannes Film Festival. His first feature film, Lamb, has also been presented at festivals in Toronto and Milan, the latter of which named Lamb the best feature film.

Sponsored by Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

  • Director: Yared Zeleke
  • Principal Cast: Redial Amare, Kidist Siyum, Welela Assefa, Rahel Teshome, Surafel Teka
  • Country: Ethiopia, France, Germany, Norway, Qatar
  • Year: 2015
  • Running Time: 94 minutes
  • Producer: Ama Ampadu, Laurent Lavolé
  • Screenplay: Yared Zeleke
  • Cinematographers: Josée Deshaies
  • Editors: Véronique Bruque
  • Music: Christophe Chassol
  • Website: Official Film Website
  • Awards: Official Oscar® Submission 2015 (Foreign Language Film)
  • Filmography: Debut Feature Film
  • Language: Amharic
  • Has Subtitles: Yes
  • Format: DCP
  • US Distributor: KimStim
  • International Sales: Films Distribution