Release Date: January 20th, 2017 (Sundance)
Directed by: Jessica Beshir
Music by: Tom Efinger (sound engineer)
Cast: Yussuf Mume Saleh
If you love nature, animals and people not giving a crap about how much danger they are in, then this short film might be your cup of joe.
This is simple and really straightforward. The film follows an Ethiopian man named Yussuf who goes out every night to spend time with the wild hyenas near his village. He mostly just feeds them, teases them and tries to smooch them.
If you know anything about hyenas, it’s utter insanity to do this but Yussuf putting himself in mortal danger on a nightly basis is what makes this so interesting. Really, I would like to know more about Yussuf and why he feels compelled to spend time with these animals. I just feel like this sort of trust in dangerous wild animals will always eventually lead to tragedy. Watch the 2005 Werner Herzog documentary Grizzly Man for an example of this.
Regardless, seeing these animals so close is really cool. They are beautiful creatures even if they are savage carnivores always looking for unsuspecting prey.
The camera work and cinematography in this was great. It had a very high chiaroscuro effect to it but it served to highlight just Yussuf and his hyena friends, pushing everything else out of view, except for a few lights in the distance.
This is short, sweet but certainly quite compelling to look at.
Pairs well with: I paired this with a string of shorts from the last 3-4 years. It’s probably best to watch most shorts in a mini marathon or festival style.