Writer/Producer/Director - Salem Mekuria
Camera - Mark Gunning, Salem Mekuria
Editors - Eric Neudel, Dan Nutu
YE WONZ MAIBEL: DELUGE is a personal visual meditation on history, conflict and the roads to reconciliation. It is a tale of love and betrayal, of idealism and the lure of power. It is a memorial to a brother who disappeared and a best friend, executed. It is a story of the Ethiopian students, their "Revolution" and its aftermath - a brutal military dictatorship.
In making Ye Wonz Maibel: Deluge, I wanted to contemplate on the role of the individual in perpetuating national tragedies, be it famine, war or political terror, by re-visiting family tragedies in my home, Ethiopia. Focusing my lens on and searching through my own history, I sought personal experiences that illuminated universal truths. What motivates us to love or to destroy? What turns good to evil, nobility to cowardice, and vision to nightmare? Where do the ranges in-between reside? I have no answers but I offer this work as a tool for looking back to get a sense of how we can look forward to a future in which responsibility and choice inform our conduct.
"Ye Wonz Maibel... is an oddly soothing work... (Mekuria's) is not a war-correspondent's refusal to engage her subject, nor a polemicist's habit of transforming proximate anguish into grand metaphor. The film's strength lies in its devotion to the impact of large scale events on small, human clusters. " Matthew Debord, Nka, Journal of Contemporary African Art, No. 9, 1998
"In Ye Wonz Maibel: DELUGE, Mekuria's deeply felt, intelligent visual essay..., she creates a tapestry seemingly as complicated as Ethiopia itself." Boston Globe, February 7, 1997.
"In DELUGE, Salem Mekuria weaves the facts, souvenirs and archive images together to rediscover a family history that is also the history of her country. A magnificent film." Revue Noire, 62, 1997.
"Ye Wonz Maibel: DELUGE... is not some impersonal documentary.... Salem enters Ethiopian archives as if it were a family album. With a casual style of elegant familiarity, she shows us the pictures... pictures in the mind that do not fade easily." Moyo Okediji, Ethiopian Review, July 1996.
"In DELUGE, memory is a path to healing and origin, ....It presents memory as a powerful force in establishing and maintaining origin as a strand in the cord of identity." Sheila Petty, Univ. of Regina, in "The Archeology of Memory: Transnational Visions of Africa in a Borderless Cinema", a forthcoming book.