Haile Gerima’s film „Morning dew“: strange home country
Full of hope, Anberber (Aaron Arefe) returns to his old home country of Ethiopia in Haile Gerima’s film “Morning Dew”. Because he studied medicine in Germany, people in his village welcome him like a saviour who has come to lead them into a better future.
Looking for home
But the hoped-for new beginning is complicated by the political instability of the socialist dictatorship in the 80s and 90s. Anberber is put into a situation where he hardly recognizes his beloved home country. He desperately searches for the country he knew as a child: its nature, its countryside, the lake where he learned how to swim and the fields he roamed through as a young boy.
Anberber revisits his memories and relives the happy moments of times past. In the here and now, however, he doesn’t feel at home. He yearns too much for the old Ethiopia – a society which has changed since his departure. But Anberber refuses to believe that his country is not the one he remembers. His own Ethiopia no longer exists for him.
Anberber’s mother tries to help her son, who has lost his vision of a better Ethiopia and falters between hope and resignation. A ritual ceremony is to show him a better future and to help him stop romanticising and idealising his past. It isn’t easy for Anberber to face the situation, but only when he manages this will he find out where he is really at home.
The film’s protagonist leaves his village in the 1970s in order to study medicine in West Germany. Director Gerima left his home country for the US at exactly the same time, so he knows about the relationship between an emigrant and his home country. Gerima manages to create a believable and vivid portrayal of Anberber’s problems. The young man finds himself caught between two societies. He is at home neither in Germany nor in Ethiopia.
In „Morning Dew“, Ethiopian director Haile Gerima deals with the problems of young emigrants, using the example of a young man from his own home country. Gerima’s portrayal of Anberber, who once embodied great hope, is both a fascinating journey into the Northeast African country and proof of how immigrants are treated as strangers. On returning home, their lot does not become any easier: again and again they are stigmatized and marginalized. This makes them outsiders in their home countries too.
Morning Dew (OT: „Teza“), Director: Haile Gerima, Cast: Aron Arefe, Abeye Tedla, Takelech, Beyene, USA/D/FRA, 2008, Running Time: 140 Minuten, Rated: R.