The Gravedigger’s Wife, dir. Khadar Ayderus Ahmed, Finland / France / Germany 2021, 82 min., Somali with English subtitles, 12A
A desperate man seeks help to save his ailing partner in the immensely powerful debut by Finnish–Somali writer-director Khadar Ayderus Ahmed. Somalia’s first ever entry for the Oscars, The Gravedigger’s Wife has received enormous acclaim at festivals around the world – and won five prizes at the 2021 African Film Academy Awards.
Guled (Omar Abdi) sits outside a Djibouti hospital, waiting for the next ambulance to pull in – and the next dead body to emerge. This dismal daily routine is what passes for a living for Guled, a gravedigger who depends on the dead for his minimal income. When his wife Nasra (Yasmin Warsame) falls ill, Guled must come up with $5,000 to pay for her treatment – and the only place he might find it is the home village he left behind years ago. Beautifully shot and wonderfully acted, Ahmed tells his modest story with captivating and poetic brilliance.
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