The Gravedigger’s Wife: A heartstring-pulling tale

Amman Film Festival

Gravediggers Wife - Poster
(Photos: Amman International Film Festival and IMDB)
The Gravedigger’s Wife is a film that includes dark and gloomy themes, though director Khadar Ayderus Ahmed seems to shine more light on the good and purity of humanity, showing how it can prevail even in the direst of situations.اضافة اعلان

The film, which will be screened today at Taj cinema, is competing  in the Arab Feature-Length Narrative Competition in the third edition of the Amman International Film Festival.

The film focuses on Guled and Nasra,  a loving couple living in some poor neighborhood in Djibouti with their son Mahad. However, the balance of their family is threatened when Nasra falls ill with a serious kidney disease and  must undergo an operation. The operation is expensive, and Guled’s job as a gravedigger is enough to make ends meet — but not much else — so the problem arises: How can the family raise enough money to save Nasra’s life? 

The heartfelt actions of different characters throughout the film slowly and subtly bring the audience closer to the true foundation of the film: love. Different aspects of love combine to form one pure emotion,  fighting with the underlying misery and sadness of the story while simultaneously upholding themes like hope and strength. 

Guled can be seen as a strong-willed and courageous young father who already has to face the challenging conditions of being a gravedigger, while also learning that his love is in critical condition. Because of the cost of the operation, and the family’s poor financial situation, Guled is forced to return to the village that he abandoned for having condemned him to his way of life.

Djibouti has rarely been as beautiful as in Ahmed’s first feature film.  The Finnish director liberally paints city streets with colors reflecting a tender and out-going nature.

It is clear that he is deeply invested in the movie characters, exploring their passions, emotions, gestures, and thoughts, all the while maintaining the loving foundation of the film.

The audience will appreciate the deep connection between the couple of the story, with Nasra, played by Yasmin Warsame, radiating striking beauty while being devoured by Gulad’s (Omar Abdi) gaze who is obviously madly in love with her.

Together, and despite the pain and poverty, they dream of a better future. Their romance has all of a Shakespearean drama, even an exile. They have absolute devotion to each other, and love emerges victorious.

Guled and Nasra struggle to keep their family together through the violence and upheaval witnessed throughout the film. Mahda, their son, stuck between an absent father and a dying mother, begins to rebel in response to his home situation.

Guled spends his days hoping to raise enough money in time, though it proves extremely difficult, despite the solidarity of those around him. His quest turns into a dangerous journey from which he will not return unscathed, but the journey clearly proves his undying and unconditional love for his wife and family.

Though death often looms over the heads of his characters, Ahmed celebrates life, and does so in the heart of a shining city. And though the narrative of the film is suspenseful and heart wrenching, it is ultimately about love, and the journeys people will take to nurture it.

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