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Film review: The Somalis' story is finally told

Film review: The Somalis’ story is finally told

The Tomb Digger’s Wife is an impressive debut movie with storytelling and joy. In addition to the fact that Khidir Aydins Ahmet’s film is a reminder of how important it is for a minority to see themselves represented on screen, it is inspiring that Finnish film opens up to the world.

the movie grave digger’s wife It is a true underdog story. It is the first Finnish film made in the Somali language, which is not surprising. But it’s also the first Somali movie ever made, which is even more surprising. Khadar Aydens Ahmed He came to Finland as a teenager, wrote the script more than ten years ago, and then became a director himself to make the film. saw a hero, Yasi Warsam, on a large H&M banner in the corner of the forum and then had the Canadian-Somali model line up and play against Omar Abdi They are Somali-Finnish. The film was shown this summer in Cannes, Toronto, and won the Fespaco Award, one of the most important film awards on the African continent. Now she can become Somalia’s Oscar nominee.

warm humor

Gravedigger Guled (Omar Abdi) married his wife, Nasra (Yasi Warsam) of love and fled from his Somali village. They live happily in the city slums with their hidden son Mahad, (Kadar Abdoul-Aziz Ibrahim(Best Actor in a Movie) who would rather wander the streets with his friends than read homework.

But Nasra, who has a kidney disease, will die of it if Gouled cannot raise a large sum of money for her operation. Sparkling but ill, he fades into town as Guled makes his way as an independent grave digger. They sit in flocks outside hospitals and mortuaries, hoping to get a job. In the first scene, a gravedigger tells a long story that ends with him accidentally falling into a grave. This situation comedy is an important element of the film’s tone, a simple, somewhat fairy-tale imitation peppered with warm humor and unmistakable realism.

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Locals in roles

At best, the film carries the legacy of the neo-realists. Beautifully photographed on location in Djibouti, with many locals in roles and the richness of detail provided by the knowledge of everyday life.

The landscape is very dry, the crust of the earth is cracking, the sun’s rays are falling. As a last resort to raise money, Guled is forced to walk from the city back to his village. It’s portrayed as an almost epic outing, but when his slipper sandal breaks, he’s got red high-heeled shoes to walk the thorns on the ground. In the village, the houses are built of stones and the people live on some dry goats. It is a poor life and there is no poet here. When the conditions of survival are too harsh, humans are also forced to become relentlessly cruel to each other. It is easy to understand that people are turning away.

vulnerability drama

One is amazed at how dramatic life is always for those who lack resources and social safety nets. A weak person can rely on the smallest thing, even a broken plastic sandal. The stakes are frighteningly high. After Guled leaves, wise son Mahad takes care of his ailing mother and their close relationship is well portrayed. The ending remains open to interpretation.

In short, it’s an impressive debut movie with a smooth flowing and storytelling, despite the role interpretations are a bit flat and some long ears in tempo. I watched the movie with a salon full of Somali Finns and it was great to see their joy that someone finally told their story on their own terms. It is inspiring that Finnish film opens up to the world and in return renews the film’s stories. A reminder of how important it is for a minority to see itself represented on screen.

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Sarah Einholm Helm
film critic