Sunday, April 30, 2006

A Review of

A Review of by Arefaynie Fantahun The Ethiopian film maker from the Diaspora, Belay Workneh spins this lighthearted romantic comedy about the repercussions of on older woman-younger man relationship. The movie, launched at Alem Cinema three weeks ago traces back the life of Solomon (Yonas Abay) a good-looking, well-built and dreamy young painter who has come to the capital from Asela seeking for a job.He submerges himself in a city life with his inspiring enthusiasm for life and strong desire to establish himself as a renowned painter. His hunt for a job brings him in to contact with w\r Aster (Nigist Hawaz),an ambitious, authoritative and manipulative woman , who is sorting every possible way to establish and expand a dating company called ‘Love Chain’, a company that sets to bring together prospective marriage partners through the internet, though she recognizes the fact that it is a luxury many people in Ethiopia can’t afford.Solomon heads to her company, W\r Aster is amused by this stammering young man who is standing before her, trying to convince her that he has all the talent needed for the good use of the company. Solomon secured the job and from the first day he was hired, W\r Aster develops a wicked crush and becomes erotically obsessed with him, though he is in many years junior than her. She begins coming on to Solomon, starts making sexual advances and telling him not to be afraid of her. Though his first reaction is one of a fear, he had no choice than to make the momentary-but fateful-mistake of succumbing to her advances. His graphic work post seems ideal and there is no way that he puts himself in a risk to lose it. But W\r Aster takes more interest in him than he wants and he finds himself in uncomfortable position, especially after he started a budding romance with a younger, prettier, decent, soft-spoken and classy girl, Firihiwot (Konjit Taddesse). She has an alluring personality that the young painter found hard to resist. Their romance blossomed in spite of their class difference, giving him a regular visit to the artist in his shabby studio, driving her Trooper. But W\r Aster, his boss and his domineering lover, continues to boldly pursue him, giving him a rapid and undeserved promotion and buying him expensive gifts. Her actions becomes destructive as she will not take ‘no’ for an answer. Solomon’s temptation is obvious and he was trying to keep a precarious balance of attempting to put W\r Aster off and keeping his job. W\r Aster’s obsession drives her to extraordinary- and unbelievable-lengths. She kisses him in her office, seductively strips in front of him and making love to him in the floor. Then there was the inevitable complexion .W\r Aster found out Solomon’s young lover and she became insanely jealous and decides to bring an end to the two younger’s love. Solomon’s attempts to brush W\r Aster off simply make her more determined to win his heart even it requires that she eliminates any competition for his attention. She begins a diabolical revenge strategy that threatens to keep his girlfriend away, by hiring a hit man and have her kidnapped. The film’s major structural problem is our lack of sympathy for Solomon, who does far too many dumb things. Initially receptive to W\r Aster’s seductive ways and he was made into a docile pet dog that does everything he is told. By the time W\r Aster starts rocking his romance with Firihiwot, the audience is likely to feel Solomon deserves what gets. Of course, many male audience members will identify with Solomon’s ambivalence about W\r Aster’s advances, considering how desperate he was for a job. The movie successfully shows us all the ways W\r Aster uses to achieve what she wants through whatever means accessible to her but it makes no attempt to explore the psychological or social issues behind her actions, implying opting a straight thriller approach. It makes the woman the villain and portrays the young man as a virtually helpless victim, which is hardly uncommon in Ethiopian films. On the plus side, the film was smart and witty and the director managed to create several funny scenes, and there was lengthy laugh in the cinema hall now and then. There was a short guy who was always in the company of different “special girls “who gives a wonderfully subtle and gentle humorous performance. However, the film is saddled with some improbable and laughably absurd scenes. When Firihiwot wants Solomon to come closer to her while they were alone at him studio, she asks him to scratch her back. Was the the director trying to create a romantic screen? As if that is not enough, Solomon comes to her back and starts scratching her from the top and goes down to her bottom till she stops him saying that ‘No, I didn’t say that?’ I have found this so ridiculous and so poorly conceived. There is also a young girl, Firihiwot’s friend, whose words and actions are too hard to swallow. Though her closeness and concern for Firihiwot telling her not to fall trap to the selfish desire of men, later at a dinner party, she makes an unusual move of flirting with Solomon, by reading the palms of his hands and trying to interpret it, in Firihiwot’s presence, despite the latter’s apparent uneasiness and anger. Yet the strongest chord in the film is the ending where Solomon succeeded in exhibiting his masterpiece of the walking bride and Firihiwot, who, who was angry and reused to talk to him, made a surprise appearance and the two hold conversation, hinting there is still hope for the two to harbor the love they have for each other. The film is as enchanting as it humorous but with challenging story, and a real script, it could have been enjoyable.


Anonymous WONDI(NERO) said...

thank u for ur writing, i appreciat u.although i didnt see the film,i coudnt say any thing about it.but i can say that you keep on writing such type of articles then you will atract many internat browsers.

5/15/2006 08:53:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the secret language of relationship

2/08/2007 01:33:00 PM  

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