"Three hours outside of Addis Ababa, a bright 14-year-old girl is on her way home from school when men on horses swoop in and kidnap her. The brave Hirut grabs a rifle and tries to escape, but ends up shooting her would-be husband. In her village, the practice of abduction into marriage is common and one of Ethiopiaâs oldest traditions.
Meaza Ashenafi, an empowered and tenacious young lawyer, arrives from the city to represent Hirut and argue that she acted in self-defense. Meaza boldly embarks on a collision course between enforcing civil authority and abiding by customary law, risking the ongoing work of her womenâs legal-aid practice to save Hirutâs life.
Beneath the layer of polite social customs, an aggressively rooted patriarchy perpetuates inhospitable conditions for women in this engrossing and significant film, based on a real-life story. Ethiopian-born writer/director Zeresenay Berhane Mehari portrays, with panoramic beauty, the complexity of a countryâs transformation toward equal rights, featuring the courageous generation that dares to own it." â Sundance Film Festival
DIFRET was shot on location in Ethiopia and had its World Premiere in the World Cinema Dramatic competition at Sundance Film Festival where it won the Audience Award. It went on to win the Panorama Audience Award at the Berlin International Film Festival.