Fig Tree


Spotlight Film

Monday, April 15, 2019
7 PM @ Lightbox Film Center

Buy Tickets Here

General Admission: $15 | Seniors: $13 | *Students: $7 | *I-House Residents/Lightbox Film Center Members: $5

*Because student and I-House ID are required, tickets may only be purchased in-person.

Director: Aäläm-Wärqe Davidian
Genre: Narrative Feature
Country: Israel
Year: 2018
Running Time: 1 hr 33 min
Language: In Amharic and Hebrew with English subtitles

Philadelphia Premiere
Ethiopian-Israeli director Aäläm-Wärqe Davidian’s breakout film, FIG TREE, has left audiences speechless throughout the world. Set in Addis Ababa at the end of the Ethiopian Civil War, Davidian’s remarkably assured debut follows a Jewish Ethiopian teenager as she attempts to save her boyfriend from being drafted, while she and her family await their turn to flee the country. With a civil war raging from the day she was born, 16-year-old Mina (Betalehem Asmamawe) has grown accustomed to her precarious surroundings. Residing with her grandmother and brother in a humble house with newsprint for wallpaper, Mina relishes her outings with Eli (Yohannes Musa), her Christian boyfriend and one and only true love. Forced to live in the woods so as to evade being captured by Mengistu Haile Mariam’s army, Eli expresses his affection for Mina under the shade and protection of the couple’s special fig tree.

Having spent her formative years in war-torn Ethiopia (Davidian left the country when she was 11), the director’s unsentimental approach to expressing the plight of her young heroine draws on her own stark memories and impressions. It is through her sharp and wildly perceptive gaze that we are given a chance to better understand the impact of civil war on the lives of ordinary Ethiopian Jews awaiting refuge in Israel.

Special Guests:


Official Selection:

  • Atlanta Jewish Film Festival
  • Haifa International Film Festival
  • Jerusalem Film Festival
  • Locarno Film Festival
  • Miami Jewish Film Festival
  • New York Jewish Film Festival
  • Toronto International Film Festival


  • Best Cinematography – Ophir Awards (Israeli Academy Awards)
  • Eurimages Audentia Award – Toronto International Film Festival


  • “A potent glimpse of adolescence amid civil war…an astutely crafted work, all the more so for making its dramatic and political points in such seemingly offhand fashion.” (Dennis Harvey, Variety)
  • “Beautifully shot.” (Nathaniel R., The Film Experience)