The People Below
Traumatized by the death of his best friend, a young Ethiopian boy can't find a way to process his feelings of guilt and grief. And in his subterranean village, dead souls are known to linger…
This film is a merging of a complex and rich history of cultures. The Ethiopian Orthodox Christian Church and older pagan beliefs form the backdrop as we follow Million’s journey through his grief and how he navigates the different paths set before him.
Million, is a 10 year old Ethiopian boy who has lost his best friend Ruthie in a horrible accident which he feels fully responsible for. Every day after her death Million heaps more guilt and shame onto himself. Having been raised Orthodox Christian, God’s everlasting love and forgiveness is presented as Million’s only way of dealing with his grief. But God isn't who he wants forgiveness from. Instead he decides the only way to purge these feelings is to forget about Ruthie entirely.
However, despite his attempts to forget, his suppressed memories of Ruthie come back to haunt him. Although Million interprets this as his reckoning it's actually where the hope of the film resides. Million ultimately must fight through his guilt and shame to be able to forgive himself and remember his friend.