by Haile Gerima
»Teza«, set in Ethiopia and Germany, chronicles the return of the African intellectual Anberber to his country of birth during the repressive Marxist regime of Haile Mariam Mengistu and the recognition of his own displacement and powerlessness at the dissolution of his people's humanity and social values. After Anberber spends several years in Germany studying medicine, he returns to Ethiopia only to find the country of his youth replaced by turmoil. His dream of using his craft to improve the health of Ethiopians is squashed by a military junta that uses scientists for their own political ends. Seeking the comfort of his countryside home, Anberber finds no shelter from violence. The solace that the memories of his youth provide is quickly replaced by the competing forces of the military and rebelling factions. Anberber must determine if he can bear the strain or piece together a life from the fragments that lay around him.
Haile is perhaps best known as the writer, producer and director of Sankofa (1993). With this historically inspired dramatic tale of African resistance to slavery he won international acclaim: he was awarded First Prize at the African Film Festival in Milan, Italy. Best Cinematography at Africa's premier Festival of Pan African Countries known as FESPACO and competing for the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival.
He finished his first films Hour Glassand Child of Resistance in 1972. In 1976, he completed »Bush Mama«. The Washington Post insists "Bush Mamais a picture that must be seen... This film crackles with energy. Fury shakes every frame." The same year marked the release of »Harvest: 3000 Years«, a film being selected as a Critic's Choice for screening at the Cannes Film Festival, winning the George Sadoul Award, the Grand Prize/Silver Leopard at the Locarno Film Festival and the Grand Primo Award at the Festival International de Cinema at Figueroa da Foz in Portugal. In the US, it garnered the Oscar Micheaux Award for Best Feature Film at the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame. Variety magazine describes the film simply as "remarkable". In 2006, the restaured version of »Harvest: 3000 Years« was presented by Martin Scorsese during Cannes Film Festival in the Official Selection/Cannes Classics. In 1978, Gerima finished his first documentary Wilmington. Followed by »After Winter: Sterling Brown« (1985), »Imperfect Journey« (1994) and »Adwa - An African Victory« (1999). Haile Gerima is an independent filmmaker born in Ethiopia in 1946. His training as a filmmaker can be said to have begun in Gondar, Ethiopia, the place of his birth, where he sat around the fire engrossed in the tales told by parents and grandparents. His father, a dramatist and playwright, was perhaps his greatest influence. In high school, Haile directed his classmates in end of semester productions before leaving to study at the Goodman School of Drama in Chicago and later at the University of Southern California at Los Angeles (UCLA). Since 1975, Haile Germina is an Honorary Professor of film at Howard University in Washington, DC.
1999 »Adwa - An African Victory« (97 min / Documentary)
1994 »Imperfect Journey« (88 min / Documentary)
1993 »Sankofa« (125 min)
1985 »After Winter: Sterling Brown« (60 min / Documentary)
1982 »Ashes And Embers« (120 min)
1978 »Wilmington« (129 min / Documentary), »Bush Mama« (98 min)
1976 »Harvest: 3000 Years« (130 min)
1972 »Child Of Resistance« (47 min / Experimental), »Hour Glass« (10 min)
Aaron Arefe - Anberber
Abeye Tedla - Tesfaye
Takelech Beyene - Tadfe
Teje Tesfahun - Azanu
Nebiyu Baye - Ayalew
Mengistu Zelalem - Young Anberber
Director and scriptwriter: Haile Gerima
Producers: Haile Gerima, Karl Baumgartner
Co-Producers: Marie-Michèle Cattelain, Philippe Avril
Cinematographer: Mario Masini
Editor: Haile Gerima, Loren Hankin
Music: Vijay Iyer & Jorga Mesfin
Sound Editor: Martin Langenbach
Art Director: Patrick Dechesne, Alain-Pascal Housiaux, Seyum Ayana
A production of: Negod-gwad Production, Pandora Film Produktion
In co-production with: Unlimited, Westdeutscher Rundfunk
Format: 35 mm / 24fps / 1:1,85 / Colour / Dolby Srd
Length: 104 Min.
Language: Amharic / German / English
Original title: Teza