Running Against the Wind is an Ethiopian foreign film. It has a plot inspired by true events. It was originally came out only in Ethiopia back in 2019. But the film is now available for audiences in North America.
One friend Abdi (Ashenafi Nigusu) dreams of becoming an Olympic runner while the other, Solomon (Mikias Wolde), aspires heavily to be a famous photographer in the future. They both go separate ways, but their paths eventually cross again many years later as adults.
Jan Philipp Weyl captures the feel and look of a stunning Africa especially with this being his directorial debut. The aerial shots of Africa bring out a lot of the country’s character and personality. He captures its various long deserts and mountains. He also doesn’t shy from showing the more bleak aspects of the country, like its poor living conditions. Despite those realistic streaks, it nicely utilizes African culture. It also uses traditional music and little pieces of culture, like African art that we see in the background.
Both Ashenafi Nigusu and Mikias Wolde are excellent in the film, being very believable as two really close friends. The film depicts all of the struggles that come at the cost of pursuing their big dreams. It feels very realistic, like this could happen to anyone. The many complications in their friendship are also very understandable. Solomon’s dream of being a photographer doesn’t work out so instead, he becomes a hustler to support a tiny family. Sll the while, Adbi is a famous runner, having been more successful in pursuing his dream career. They don’t reconnect with one another till the second half of the film. This gives us enough time to see what their individual lives have become. After all, they drifted apart all those years ago. Their friendship is easily the best and strongest aspect of the entire film, giving it emotional resonance.
The film’s biggest issue is that some of the scenes feel completely out of place. These scenes do not fit in with the very realistic tone of the rest of the film. Like for example, there is a fight sequence that feels as if it belongs in a completely different film. And that scene is not one that is trying to go for a realistic story between two friends in Ethiopia. There also should have been a bigger focus on their friendship with the script being more interested in other things. It makes the story really drawn out.
Running Against the Wind is a nice film that explores a friendship in Ethiopia. It has great cinematography and a good cast. Those elements overpower the few questionable scenes and choices that feel out of place.
- Rated: NR
- Genre: Drama
- Release Date: 7/9/2021
- Directed by: Jan Philipp Weyl
- Starring: Alamudin Abdusalem, Ashenafi Nigusu, Ferhane Beker, Joseph Reta Belay, Mikias Wolde, Semrawit Desalegn
- Produced by: Andreas Seck, Chris Naumann, Jan Philipp Weyl, Samerawit Seid Kekebo
- Written by: Jan Philipp Weyl, Michael Wogh
- Studio: Ac Independent Film, R&B Räuber & Banditen Film