Dir: Jan Philipp Weyl | Cast: Ashenafi Nigusu, Mikayas Wolde | Drama, 119′
A feel good film about sport, friendship and ambition Running Against the Wind, sees two friends growing up in a remote village drawn together by their love of running, a sport that has long been associated with this now beleaguered nation which has produced two-time Olympic gold medal winner Haile Gebrselassie – who has a cameo in the film – and long-distance runner Muktar Edris.
But the boys’ lives diverge when Solomon (Wolde) leaves for Addis Ababa to become a professional photographer and Abdi (Nigusu) pursues his running career. They will meet again under darker skies.
German filmmaker Weyl has put a great deal of thought into his feature debut – clearly a ‘method director’ he has immersed himself in the country’s history and culture, even learning Amharic, one of Ethiopia’s eight major languages, to make a story that feels gritty and authentic with the bond of friendship at its core. Mateusz Smolka’s widescreen visuals capture the magnificent scenery and the intimacy of the human story with its universal appeal. MT
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