THE KING NEVER DIES
A film by Pierre LAMARQUE & Elise DEMEULENAERE
Little Big Men. 73 min. 2007
Konso (southern Ethiopia), February 2005. After having lived for many years in Addis Ababa Gezagn has now returned to his homeland to become the 20th poqalla of the Kala lineage. All the members of his clan are about to practice the ritual celebrating the close of the mourning period for his father Woldedawit and to owe allegiance to Gezagn. It is the sowing season and the rain, which has not yet arrived, is on everyone’s mind. In spite of all this, Ayano, a modest peasant strives to find a costly young bull, without which he will not be able to take part in the ceremony. Anxiety builds up when Mangoursha, alias “the ganshalo”, the man who was hired a year ago by the deceased’s family to play the drum for the opening and closing of the mourning period, flees to the lowlands, unhappy about his condition. Everyone in Konso well knows that without him, the ritual can quite simply lose its vitalizing power over land and men.