You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Journey to Lasta

Soft-headed and sweet-tempered, "Journey to Lasta" may be little more than a dramatic advertisement for Ethiopian band Lasta Sound -- but as advertisements go, it's a thoroughly pleasant one.

With:
Tsegaye - Tsegaye B. Selassie Kirubel - Kirubel Assefa Teferi - Teferi Assefa Binyam - Johnny Ashenafi Selam - Jessica Beshir Addis - Tsehaie Kidane Mimi - Abbey Lessanu Omar - Scott Evans Mikey - Eliud Evans Mikey's Mother - Tsehay Zewdie (Amharic, English dialogue)

Soft-headed and sweet-tempered, “Journey to Lasta” may be little more than a dramatic advertisement for Ethiopian band Lasta Sound — but as advertisements go, it’s a thoroughly pleasant one. Though standard in presentation and a tad too leisurely paced at just over two hours, writer-director Wondwossen D. Dikran’s soulfully mellow feature boasts a handful of fine performances and some fairly irresistible music. Pic, which preemed on the East Coast in October prior to Pan-African fest screening, looks to reap decent (and diverse) audience reception at future fests.

Lasta Sound guitarist Kirubel Assefa and drummer Teferi Assefa play down-on-their-luck versions trying unsuccessfully to eke out a living in L.A. while pursuing their reggae passions on the side. In floats Kirubel’s childhood pal Tsegaye (Tsegaye B. Selassie), a gentle soul who becomes both the band’s frontman and its musical-spiritual guru, energizing his friends in preparation for an upcoming band competition that could help them make it big.

Hindering them are oily promoter Binyam (Johnny Ashenafi in a spry, mischievous turn), who has Teferi under binding contract and takes a huge cut of the band’s meager earnings, and Kirubel’s bitchy girlfriend, Selam (Jessica Beshir), who quits the band early on and even considers quitting Kirubel to pursue her own dreams.

With its mystical underpinnings and soap-operatic “I love you”/”Love is not enough” dialogue (about half of which is spoken in the actors’ native Amharic with English subtitles), story frequently flirts with the risible, particularly in a seemingly unrelated subplot about a homesick, coke-addled painter (Tsehaie Kidane). But if the material isn’t exactly fresh, the actors display enough conviction to sustain interest through the draggier stretches.

Besides Lasta Sound, which struts its stuff impressively during the obligatory battle-of-the-bands climax, pic also features perfs by Latin bands Quinto Sol, Chakra, Upground and Ras Michael. Yasu Tanida’s carefully underlit cinematography adds immeasurably to the low-key music-scene vibe.

Journey to Lasta

Production: A Reel Image Pictures production. Produced by Jake Deptula. Executive producer, Nebiyou Essayas. Co-producer, Olumide Odebunmi. Directed, written by Wondwossen D. Dikran.

Crew: Camera (color), Yasu Tanida; editor, Gabrielle Thorbourn; music, Bryan Galvez; production designer, Billy Sale; art director, Billy Sale; costume designers, Milkey Aragaw, Tirsit Aragaw; sound, Brian Swanson; associate producer, Milena Gashaw. Reviewed at Pan-African Film and Arts Festival, Feb. 13, 2005. Running time: 122 MIN.

With: Tsegaye - Tsegaye B. Selassie Kirubel - Kirubel Assefa Teferi - Teferi Assefa Binyam - Johnny Ashenafi Selam - Jessica Beshir Addis - Tsehaie Kidane Mimi - Abbey Lessanu Omar - Scott Evans Mikey - Eliud Evans Mikey's Mother - Tsehay Zewdie (Amharic, English dialogue)

More Film

  • Venice’s ‘The Wild Boys’ Acquired by

    Venice’s ‘The Wild Boys’ Acquired by U.S.'s Altered Innocence, MUBI (EXCLUSIVE)

    Soft-headed and sweet-tempered, “Journey to Lasta” may be little more than a dramatic advertisement for Ethiopian band Lasta Sound — but as advertisements go, it’s a thoroughly pleasant one. Though standard in presentation and a tad too leisurely paced at just over two hours, writer-director Wondwossen D. Dikran’s soulfully mellow feature boasts a handful of […]

  • Michael B. Jordan, Sylvester Stallone in

    Michael B. Jordan Attempts to Rewrite History in First 'Creed II' Trailer

    Soft-headed and sweet-tempered, “Journey to Lasta” may be little more than a dramatic advertisement for Ethiopian band Lasta Sound — but as advertisements go, it’s a thoroughly pleasant one. Though standard in presentation and a tad too leisurely paced at just over two hours, writer-director Wondwossen D. Dikran’s soulfully mellow feature boasts a handful of […]

  • Merger Angst Warner Media

    High Anxiety: WarnerMedia Staff Braces for New Boss as AT&T Takes Control

    Soft-headed and sweet-tempered, “Journey to Lasta” may be little more than a dramatic advertisement for Ethiopian band Lasta Sound — but as advertisements go, it’s a thoroughly pleasant one. Though standard in presentation and a tad too leisurely paced at just over two hours, writer-director Wondwossen D. Dikran’s soulfully mellow feature boasts a handful of […]

  • Bob Iger arrives at the Oscars,

    Bob Iger: Disney Has 'Much Better' Chance of Closing Fox Deal Than Comcast

    Soft-headed and sweet-tempered, “Journey to Lasta” may be little more than a dramatic advertisement for Ethiopian band Lasta Sound — but as advertisements go, it’s a thoroughly pleasant one. Though standard in presentation and a tad too leisurely paced at just over two hours, writer-director Wondwossen D. Dikran’s soulfully mellow feature boasts a handful of […]

  • Brian Roberts, Bob Iger Battle Over

    Brian Roberts and Bob Iger Go Head-to-Head in the Battle for Fox

    Soft-headed and sweet-tempered, “Journey to Lasta” may be little more than a dramatic advertisement for Ethiopian band Lasta Sound — but as advertisements go, it’s a thoroughly pleasant one. Though standard in presentation and a tad too leisurely paced at just over two hours, writer-director Wondwossen D. Dikran’s soulfully mellow feature boasts a handful of […]

  • Disney Fox Merger Illustration by Rob

    Disney Ups Fox Bid to $71.3 Billion, Outflanking Comcast

    Soft-headed and sweet-tempered, “Journey to Lasta” may be little more than a dramatic advertisement for Ethiopian band Lasta Sound — but as advertisements go, it’s a thoroughly pleasant one. Though standard in presentation and a tad too leisurely paced at just over two hours, writer-director Wondwossen D. Dikran’s soulfully mellow feature boasts a handful of […]

  • 'Izzy Gets the F--- Across Town'

    Film Review: 'Izzy Gets the F--- Across Town'

    Soft-headed and sweet-tempered, “Journey to Lasta” may be little more than a dramatic advertisement for Ethiopian band Lasta Sound — but as advertisements go, it’s a thoroughly pleasant one. Though standard in presentation and a tad too leisurely paced at just over two hours, writer-director Wondwossen D. Dikran’s soulfully mellow feature boasts a handful of […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content