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Fespaco Crowns Somali Film with Top Prize

A Somali film exploring what people will do for love has won the grand prize at the prestigious Pan-African film festival in Burkina Faso. The Gravedigger’s Wife, written and directed by Finish-Somali director Khadar Ahmed, beat off competition at Fespaco from 16 other movies. It focuses on Guled, whose job it is to wait outside hospital to bury the dead, and what he does to save his sick wife. The head of the prize jury called it a courageous film, “It is a beautiful film that tells a story with humanity,” Mauritanian film director Abderrahmane Sissako is quoted as saying. “I’m in awe. I’m speechless. Words cannot express my gratitude and appreciation for this type of love from the continent,” Ahmed wrote on Instagram. A rare feature-length film in Somali, The Gravedigger’s Wife is also Somalia’s first entry in the Best International Feature Film category at the Oscars. Set in Djibouti, it details the struggles faced by Guled, played by Omar Abdi, when he learns he has to raise funds to pay for his wife’s treatment.