The International film series screened “Lamb,” an Ethiopian film directed by Yared Zeleke, last Wednesday.
“Lamb” follows the story of Ephraim, a young boy, who leaves his home village with his father after his mother dies. Ephraim leaves with his mother’s lamb and only friend, Chuni, to go to a relative’s home in the next town. In hopes of giving his son a better life, Ephraim’s father heads to the city to find work.
Not only is Ephraim left in a unfamiliar place, but his uncle announces that he will kill Chuni for an upcoming holiday. Desperate to go home and protect his friend, Ephraim thinks of a plan to save his lamb and go home.
Even though the movie focused on the life and challenges of Ephraim, it also touched on social issues like poverty and gender roles in Ethiopian culture. The film also clearly illustrates Ethiopia’s chronic poverty.
The film also explores the strict nature of gender roles in Ethiopian culture. Ephraim is able to cook, which is frowned upon in his culture because men usually do farm work and provide for the family, while women do the housework. Tision, Ephraim’s cousin, is hounded in the film for not having a husband at her age.
The purpose of the International Film Series is to screen movies that people typically wouldn’t be exposed to. Senior English major Jeremy Smith, co-student director of IFS, explained how showing movies like “Lamb” democratizes film.
“It kind of still allows them to say what they want to say with their life and career,” Smith said
At some point in the movie, Ephraim left his lamb in the care of a shepherd. When he went back for the lamb, it didn’t want to go with him; the lamb leaving Ephraim symbolizes him finally being able to depend on himself.
Two visitors from China, Cuimin Xia and Xia Wen, came to see the movie. They both thought the movie was touching. Xia Wen said the movie was encouraging and that the symbolism of the lamb in the film was good.