Cinema Ethiopia


My Sister Banchiya

Narrative, 1999. 24mins.


"My Sister Banchiya" tells the story of a ten year old Ethiopian child, Banchiya, who immigrated to Israel with her mother and three siblings seven years ago. Her father died while they were still in Ethiopia and her mother was run over by a truck in Israel. Banchiya and her older siblings were sent to an institution while their mother was in the hospital. Avigail , who was doing her national service in the same institution in Netanya, met Banchiya and soon began bringing her home to Jerusalem for Shabbat. A half a year later Banchiya's mother died and Avigail's family considered adopting her. After a period of trial and introspection, they decided that they wanted Banchiya to join the family. For the past six years Banchiya has lived with her new family in the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem. The film touches upon some of the challenges and difficulties arising in Banchiya's life as a black member of a white, orthodox Jewish community and as the only adopted child in a family of ten children. She has forgotten Amharic, which makes her relationships with her Ethiopian relatives difficult-and yet she is aware of her differences from her new family. Banchiya must struggle with these basic questions of identity and dual loyalties to her adoptive family and ethnic origins.

Directed by: Avigail Sperber

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