Hermon Hailay and Max Conil and 'The Price of Love'

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Hermon Hailay and Max Conil and The Price of Love

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Film Synopsis

A cab driver and a beautiful young prostitute fall in love while struggling to survive on the mean streets of Addis Ababa, in this frank, gritty drama from Ethiopian writer-director Hermon Hailay.

One of the leading female filmmakers in Ethiopia, Hermon Hailay has never shied away from hard-hitting social issues. In her third feature, Price of Love, she offers a frank, gritty look at the sinister underworld of Addis Ababa's commerce in flesh, and the toll it takes on those trapped within it.

Outside a fancy nightclub, the alluring young Fere (Fereweni Gebregergs) frantically jumps into a taxi after freeing herself from the grip of a middle-aged man. Examining Fere in his rearview mirror, cab driver Teddy (Eskindir Tameru) can guess that she, like thousands of young Ethiopian women — including his own mother — was lured into the dark world of prostitution networks in the Middle East by the promise of making a fortune in Dubai. Growing up on the street after his mother died when he was a teenager, Teddy had fallen into addictions to alcohol and chewing khat, until the priest to whom his mother had entrusted his care gave him a second chance by lending him the money to buy a cab licence.

As Fere and Teddy grow closer to each other, they discover that falling in love can be an emancipation, a coming into their own — but the cruel reality is that it comes with a very high price.

Hailay was raised in a neighbourhood where prostitution was rife, and with this film she set out to tell the stories of the people she knew: "young, beautiful women, mothers, sisters, and friends," as she describes them. Independently produced and shot with a small eight-member crew in real locations throughout Addis Ababa, Price of Love tells those stories with courage, intelligence, and boundless compassion.

Hermon Hailay

Hermon Hailay was born in Mekele, Ethiopia and is now based in Addis Ababa. Her credits include the features Balaguru (12),Yaltasebew (13), and Price of Love (15)

Photo: Getty Images

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