Difret review – the true story of a rape victim who fought back
This Ethiopian docudrama recreates the game-changing legal case involving a 14-year-old who shot her kidnapper
Ethiopian director Zeresenay Mehari’s docudrama recounts a game-changing legal case from the mid-90s that involved a 14-year-old girl named Hirut (played by Tizita Hagere) who tried to plead self-defence after fatally shooting the man who abducted and raped her. Local star Meron Getnet, who’s terrific, co-stars as Hirut’s pro-bono lawyer Meaza Ashenafi, a feisty modern woman who won’t give up the fight against patriarchal tradition. It’s tempting to give this more of a pass because the subject is so noble and so few African-made films make it over here, but it has to be admitted that the some of the acting is a bit ropey and the script is a little too on-the-nose at times. There really is a scene where our heroine Meaza goes to a bar to get drunk at her darkest hour just before good news comes through. On the other hand, it’s hard not to stifle a tear at the emotional climax, and cinematographer Monika Lenczewska does a particularly handsome job evoking the milieu.