Lamb

When an Ethiopian boy moves in with distant relatives he takes his pet sheep with him but the upcoming holidays spell danger for his beloved friend.

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  • ★★★★ review by Nick R on Letterboxd

    One hell of a debut, both for Yared Zeleke and for contemporary Ethiopian cinema (as this is the first film from the country to make a significant impact on the festival world abroad).

    From the rich, tactile first shot of hands on sheep wool to its conventional but nonetheless affecting last moments, there's not a bum note in this: arresting cinematography captures a world that's been excluded from the cinema; a simple narrative builds on subtle details; non-professional actors give lovely naturalistic performances.

    The "smallness" of the narrative might keep this from being any sort of sensation, but there's a Bressonian clarity to this, and a nuance to its portrayal of a complex social situation, that makes it deserving of a wide audience's care and attention.

  • ★★★★ review by soul portable on Letterboxd

    A beautifully shot film with a simple plot. A peek into the Ethiopian culture that is rare to be seen on screen through the eyes of an innocent boy away from the presence of his parents. Culture, tradition, family, and gender are key elements that make up the movie. It was refreshing to see the landscape almost become a character that plays a crucial role in visually communicating to the audience the cultural overtone of this film.

  • ★★★½ review by Thomas Ringdal on Letterboxd

    KVIFF #20

  • ★★★★ review by One Room With A View on Letterboxd

    A simple story well-told, Lamb is a startlingly assured debut feature from writer-director Yaled Zeleke which overcomes the traditional “kids and animals” issue to deliver a warm-hearted and bittersweet coming-of-age story.

    Sitting snugly alongside other classic kids’-films-for-adults Kes and Bicycle Thieves, Lamb includes all the perfectly observed characters and universal life lessons of these films and combines them with some gorgeously cinematic Ethiopian scenery.

    Genuine and naturalistic performances (particularly from newcomer and lead Rediat Amare) ensure audience connection with the cast of characters as issues of adulthood, masculinity and responsibility are engaged with in a simple yet intelligent manner.

    Based on Lamb’s richly-deserved applause from the Cannes crowd at its premiere, Ethiopian film’s first venture to Cannes will most assuredly not be its last.

    READ MORE: oneroomwithaview.com/2015/05/22/lamb-cannes-2015-review/

  • ★★★★★ review by Slappy McGee on Letterboxd

    Film #46 of my 2018 MUBI Viewings

    *****

    Genuinely beautiful.

    Not only gorgeous cinematography, but a very loving look at the coming of age of a young Ethiopian boy who doesn't quite fit in with his world around him.

    A unique version of this theme of holding on to one's childhood. For this kid, he literally holds on to it with a rope at times, as the lamb serves as a beautiful metaphor for his childhood innocence. The kindness with which this film addresses their relationship is truly heartwarming and gentle. Loved it so much.

    The young boy is also such an honest actor that you are completely drawn into his performance as he shows us so much beneath his eyes. It's handled so well. And the director is patient and lets his camera linger at times which gives us so much of the soul of this young boy's performance onscreen.

    The beauty of the country matched with the beauty of this story really gobsmacked me. I did not expect the heights of this film. Wow.

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