2018 / 40 minutes

Directed by
Mitiku Gabrehiwot
Country of production
Ethiopia Germany
Guardians of Productive Landscapes

Dancing Grass is a film in the Guardians of Productive Landscapes series (editor Ivo Strecker). It captures the communal harvesting of teff among Tigreans of Northern Ethiopia. Teff, an ancient indigenous grain, is central to the livelihood of smallholder farmers and may be called the ‘cereal core’ of Ethiopian national food identity. A local elder provides the commentary for the sequence of events that unfold in the homestead, fields and neighbourhood of the author’s eldest brother and family: the cutting of the ‘dancing grass’; the drying and stacking; the threshing and winnowing; then the sale of teff in the local market; off with a donkey to the mill; cooking enjera for family and guests; coffee drinking and blessing; and finally the Mesqel fire, an Orthodox Christian celebration at the end of the rainy season.

Language and subtitles
Tigrinya with English subtitles
Location(s) depicted
North and Northeast Africa
Agriculture / Farming Food / Water