• 2014
  • Ethiopia / US
  • 1h 39min
  • 12A
  • Directed by: Zeresenay Mehari
  • Cast: Meron Getnet, Tizita Hagere, Rahel Teshome
  • Language: Amharic
  • UK release: 6 March 2015

Hirut, a 14 year old Ethiopian girl, is abducted and raped by a gang of men, but when her chief tormentor claims her as his 'bride', she kills him with his own gun. Unpolished and sometimes clunky but touching social justice drama, based on a true story and deserving an audience.

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The word difret means courage and daring… The word difret means courage and daring and when a Hirut schoolgirl is kidnapped by a gang for marriage (a traditional practice known as Telefa), she will need plentiful amounts of both. Arriving from Addis Ababa, a tenacious lawyer takes up her case, but their partnership faces fierce opposition.

Set in Ethiopia where patriarchal tribal customs clash with the more progressive elements of society, this story is based on a true-life legal case from the 1990s. The film was written and made by two Ethiopians with the noble aim of encouraging debate, both at home and internationally, about an issue which still affects young Ethiopian women today. They have achieved this through a story of spirited characters who sympathetically reflect the multiplicity of their culture.

Cast: Meron Getnet, Tizita Hagere Director: Zeresenay Berhane Mehari Year: 2014 Language: Amharic with English subtitles "An important story, told with commitment" - Trevor Johnston, Time Out

"sterling performances and an unpredictable plotline sustain the attention until the bittersweet end" - Hannah McGill, Sight & Sound

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Reviews & features


2 Mar 20153 stars

Moving Ethiopian drama focusing on the fight for a young girl's freedom

There are a lot of good films being made in Africa and we rarely get to see any of them outside of festivals, so Ethiopian filmmaker Zeresenay Mehari’s eye-opening social justice drama, based on a groundbreaking true story, deserves an audience.

Difret (trailer)

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