Director Malene Nielsen
Short documentary, 30 min, shot on hd, Lokomotiv film, 2010.
Taking as its starting-point the Hannah Arendt quote that 'We should learn to see the world through other people's eyes', the filmmaker Malene Nielsen takes us on a playful journey to try and challenge the one-sided western history of Africa, in this case Ethiopia. The film's framework is a staged talk show, a green sofa environment set up in a street in the middle of Africa's largest market, Merkato. The director assumes the role of talk-show host and invites passers-by to become the guests. A number of photographs of impoverished children with ballooning stomachs and flies in the corners of their eyes become the focal point of the sofa talks. Do the representations by the powerful western mediators correspond with the guests' own experiences in one of the world's poorest countries? Equipped with a curious eye, we move away from the talk show to a sensual and lingering collage of evocative scenes from Addis Abeba's backwaters. The sound artist Jacob Kirkegaard has joined the trip and he here reinterprets Hannah Arendt: 'We should learn to listen to the world through other people's ears'. With his precise aural postcard, Kirkegaard lets us listen to the everyday life of Ethiopians.