A poor, nameless Ethiopian peasant family slogs away under the watchful eye of a feudal ruler. Sitting there comfortably, he shouts his orders from the veranda, under protest from a local ‘fool’. This man is also trying to convince the peasants of the only way out: get an education. The family seems accustomed to their repetitive and hopeless existence, cherishing memories of happier times and apparently accepting their fate. Until something breaks in one of them.
Gerima made this film, his first situated in Africa, during his studies at UCLA, in a rhythm and narrative style that is averse to traditional film conventions. Acted by nonprofessional, Amharic-speaking actors and shot entirely on location during the Ethiopian Civil War which led to the removal of Haile Selassie, this political allegory makes mincemeat of the class system with a dystopian view of the postcolonial future. Harvest 3000 Years is being screened in the original 16mm version.