• Jessica Beshir
  • Ethiopia, United States, Mexico
  • 2017
  • 7 min
  • European Premiere
  • IDFA Competition for Short Documentary
Every night for more than 35 years, Yussuf Mume Saleh has gone outside the city walls of Harar—the centuries-old Ethiopian city and one of the world’s most important Islamic settlements— to feed his beloved spotted hyenas. Although these animals are by no means harmless, over the years Yussuf has developed such a close bond with them that he can even feed them from his own mouth. His special relationship with the hyenas is not unique in Harar: despite these predators’ fearsome reputation, the local human population has a longstanding symbiotic relationship with the animals. This enchanting, hypnotic and poetic film connects the beautiful black-and-white shots of Yusuf and his hyenas with a poem by Elias Shagiz Adonay Tesfaye about suffering, loss and love. Hairat is based on the early memories of Mexican-Ethiopian director Jessica Beshir, who grew up in Harar and as a child particularly enjoyed seeing Yussuf feed the hyenas. 


  • 7 min
  • black and white
  • DCP
  • Spoken languages: Oromo
  • Subtitles in: English
Jessica Beshir
Jessica Beshir
Efrem Degu, Jessica Beshir
Charlie Hoxie
Efrem Degu, Jessica Beshir

IDFA history

European Premiere
IDFA Competition for Short Documentary

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IDFA history

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