The African Film Trinidad & Tobago Festival 2016 opens at the Central Bank Auditorium at 6.30pm tonight, with its major programme running over the weekend. BC Pires recommends the opening film vigorously.

Lamb (Yared Zeleke/ 2015/ Ethiopia/ Drama / 94 mins/ Amharic with English subtitles / Rating unavailable but suitable for all ages) 6.30pm Central Bank Auditorium, Port of Spain.

Writer/Director Yared Zeleke’s debut feature was the first Ethiopian film selected at Cannes, the world’s leading film festival, and was Ethiopia’s official national 2016 Foreign Language Oscar entry and is almost too strong to be accepted as anyone’s first film. The titular lamb is the vehicle of the story in the same way the bike was in The Bicycle Thief, the European film to which Lamb bears the most immediate emotional and narrative resemblance. The opening shot of the lamb’s wooly side being stroked by the young male protagonist establishes from the first frame both the visual beauty of the film and the emotional tangle in which the boy finds himself: the lamb is his pet but it is also vital to the physical wellbeing and cultural framework of other human beings, his extended family. The boy gives everything he has to save the lamb but there is a sacrifice demanded; and the result is adulthood foisted upon a child; a powerful, moving film that could never have been made by Walt Disney.