Hairat: Jessica Beshir’s Docu of Harar and its Hyenas

In her meditative experimental documentary Hairat, Jessica Beshir (who introduces the film on the Criterion Channel) returns to her childhood home of Ethiopia to create a loving portrait of Yussuf Mume Saleh, a man who has spent the last thirty-five years journeying at night through the city of Harar to feed packs of hyenas.
In Souleymane Cissé’s landmark film Yeelen, a young man flees from his sorcerer father at the behest of his mother and embarks on a spiritual odyssey, during which he encounters an oracle in the form of a hyena god.