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Friday, 30 March 2012

Ezra Wube "Hisab" (2011)


Why do goats run from cars? Why do dogs chase cars? Why do donkeys block the roads? Hisab is the first animation I have featured here that is made in Ethopia. Ezra Wube's seven minute film answers all three questions and does so in a manner that is fiercely African in style and absolutely gorgeous to view and listen to. But first some idea of the narrative. Ezra recounts a folk tale to explain the three phenomena above. So the dog, donkey and goat take a cab journey in a minibus that is already full of men. They travel through the cities and countryside and for each animal there is a story to tell, an encounter to experience, the conclusion of which explains the beast's subsequent behaviour. Being painted on glass allows fluidity and spontaneity. It underscores the lavish colour painted in bold strokes, the tactile texture leaping off the screen. And the colours are the colours of the African continent possessing as appropriate both backlit vibrancy and deep shadow. Then there is an astonishing soundtrack. The constant voices, the din of traffic and discourse. Each of the animals triggers another drama. Ashebir Kastro, Maaza Haile, Hzkias Kasa and Getachew Tadese provided the voices. Those donkeys block the road all right. Huge queues. Huge brouhaha. But we know why thanks to a remarkable animator with a piece of work that resonates with the warmth of a continent.