Going the Distance
Review by Ross Anthony

Though, called a non-fiction feature by it's producer, "Endurance" is loosely a documentary on Haile Gebrselassie ... Ethiopia's Olympic gold winner and one of the world's greatest distance runners.

Yonas Zergaw (Haile's real life nephew) plays the young Haile, growing up on a ranching farm in Ethiopia. The eighth of ten children, the young Haile must run six miles to school and still get home in time to milk the cows and harvest the wheat. Some of Haile's real life family are present in the film (though at times standing in for younger or dead relatives). Their recreations are surprisingly genuine.

"Endurance" spares us the intrusion of a narrator, preferring to let the simple images tell the story in their own time. The music ... wonderfully wide open and rich (like the landscape) in the beginning, thins out during the breadth of the distance. It embraces elements of the indigenous music, but certainly not exclusively.

This sweetly simple and honest documentary, shouldn't be confused with a feature film; but crossing the finish line, Haile's sincerity, will no doubt choke up a tear in your eye.

Starring Haile Gebrselassie and his family.
Written and directed by Leslie Woodhead.
Produced by Edward R. Pressman, Terrence Malick and Max Palevsky at Disney.
Rated G.


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Last Modified: Saturday, 16-Sep-2006 08:11:56 PDT