is a personal visual
meditation on history, conflict and the roads to reconciliation.
It is a tale of love and betrayal, of idealism and the
lure of power. It is a memorial to a brother who disappeared
and a best friend, executed. It is a story of the Ethiopian
students, their "Revolution" and its aftermath
- a brutal military dictatorship.
In making , I wanted to contemplate on the
role of the individual in perpetuating national tragedies,
be it famine, war or political terror, by re-visiting
family tragedies in my home, Ethiopia. Focusing my lens
on and searching through my own history, I sought personal
experiences that illuminated universal truths. What
motivates us to love or to destroy? What turns good
to evil, nobility to cowardice, and vision to nightmare?
Where do the ranges in-between reside? I have no answers
but I offer this work as a tool for looking back to
get a sense of how we can look forward to a future in
which responsibility and choice inform our conduct.
16mm, beta - digital and SP, VHS
Channel Four Television, England, 1997, South
African Broadcasting Corp., 2000, scheduled for Zimbabwe
Broadcasting Corp., 2001
of Festival, Vermont International Film Festival, '98;
First Place, the National Black Programming Consortium's
Prized Pieces '97;
Director's Citation, in the Black Maria Film & Video
Maskal Square Outdoor screening, 2004;
Economic Commission for Africa, Africa Hall, Addis Ababa,
Ethiopia, 2004; CinemAfrica, Stockholm and Goteborg,
Sweden, 2003, 2004; Museum of African Art at the Smithsonian
Institution, Washington, D.C., 2003; Documenta 11, New
Delhi, India, 2001; The House of Film Culture, Berlin,
Germany; the 6th New York African Film Festival at the
Lincoln Center, New York City; Zanzibar International
Film Festival; Edge of Awareness - WHO Anniversary World
Arts Festival in Geneva, New York, Sao Paolo and New
Delhi; Vermont International Film Festival; Amnesty
International Film Festival, Amsterdam; African Film
Now, Toronto; Deutches Filmmuseum, Frankfurt; the Contemporary
African Diaspora Film Festival, New York; CinemaAfrica,
Zurich; the 2nd Johannesburg Biennale, South Africa;
African Film Festival, Tokyo; Festival of African Cinema,
FESPACO, Burkina Faso; Urban World Film Festival, NY;
the Fourth International Women's Film Festival, Minsk,
Belarus; the Harvard Film Archive, Cambridge, USA; Oakland
Museum, Oakland, USA; the 4th Annual International Festival
of Women's Cinema, Boston, USA; the Pan African Film
Festival, Los Angeles, USA; and the Museum of Fine Arts,
Maibel... is an oddly soothing work... (Mekuria's) is
not a war-correspondent's refusal to engage her subject,
nor a polemicist's habit of transforming proximate anguish
into grand metaphor. The film's strength lies in its
devotion to the impact of large scale events on small,
human clusters. " Matthew Debord, Nka, Journal
of Contemporary African Art, No. 9, 1998
Wonz Maibel: DELUGE, Mekuria's deeply felt, intelligent
visual essay..., she creates a tapestry seemingly as
complicated as Ethiopia itself." Boston Globe,
February 7, 1997.
Salem Mekuria weaves the facts, souvenirs and archive
images together to rediscover a family history that
is also the history of her country. A magnificent film."
Revue Noire, 62, 1997.
Maibel: DELUGE... is not some impersonal documentary....
Salem enters Ethiopian archives as if it were a family
album. With a casual style of elegant familiarity, she
shows us the pictures... pictures in the mind that do
not fade easily." Moyo Okediji, Ethiopian Review,
memory is a path to healing and origin, ....It presents
memory as a powerful force in establishing and maintaining
origin as a strand in the cord of identity." Sheila
Petty, Univ. of Regina, in "The Archeology of Memory:
Transnational Visions of Africa in a Borderless Cinema",
a forthcoming book.
DELUGE was shot on location in Ethiopia.
Production took place between 1991 and 1995.
- Salem Mekuria
Camera - Mark Gunning, Salem Mekuria
Editors - Eric Neudel, Dan Nutu
Additional credits available upon request.
Poster for Deluge
Screenshot from Deluge