A touching tribute to a young Ethiopian girl and the selfless doctors who save her life, Zemene is a refreshing picker-upper to squeeze into your festival schedule. At just over an hour, director Melissa Donovan makes efficient use of time to reveal cultural insights and also tell a stirring narrative. In rural Ethiopia, Zemenework (“Zemene”) Tiget suffers from kyphosis (the spine condition that presents as a “hunchback”), a result of contracting tuberculosis as a toddler. Having lost her mother to malaria, Zemene faces a likely early death as her spine threatens to eventually crush her lungs. When her helpless uncle brings her to the nearest city seeking care, they miraculously cross paths with Dr. Rick Hodes, a saintly American doctor who just happens to adopt spine patients, arrange their surgery, and nurse them back to health. It's a made-for-Hollywood fairy tale, but Donovan doesn't pander with melodrama or pity the seemingly endless line of children with spinal deformities. With Zemene, she demonstrates that transforming the body goes a long way to transforming the mind. And in this case, angelic Zemene appears to be on her way to transforming an entire community.
Sunday, April 12, 1:15pm
Tuesday, April 14, 4:45pm
Director: Melissa Donovan
Producer: Melissa Donovan Writers: Melissa Donovan
Cinematography: Melissa Donovan
Editing: Dina Guttmann, Melissa Donovan, Christo Tsiaras
Premiere: September 28, 2014 - Boston Film Festival