Mahamat-Saleh Haroun’s most recent masterpiece is a breathtaking glimpse at loss, longing and the pain of regret. A Screaming Man is a superbly photographed and beautifully written story that follows former swimming champ Adam (played by the ever-stoic award-winning Youssouf Djaoro) as he clings to the only stability in his life while Chad is gripped by civil war. This is African cinema at its finest and yet another reason to join Film Movement – it is unlikely I would have come across this film (despite its festival awards and accolades from critics) if it hadn’t arrived by post as part of my monthly DVD offering from Film Movement (trailer after the jump).
The synopsis from Film Movement:
Adam, a former swimming champion in his sixties, is a pool attendant at a hotel in Chad. When the hotel gets taken over by new Chinese owners, he is forced to give up his job to his son, Abdel, leaving Adam humiliated and resentful. Meanwhile the country is in the throes of a civil war. Rebel forces are attacking the government and the authorities demand the people contribute to the “war effort” with money or volunteers old enough to fight. Adam is constantly harassed for his contribution, but he is penniless. In a moment of weakness, Adam makes a decision that he will forever regret.
Mahamat-Saleh Haroun is a master artist and A Screaming Man proves his incredible talent to tackle the personal narrative and larger socio-political narrative with the sensitivity of a brush stroke. In his DVD jacket comments Haroun describes his experience shooting in his native Chad and having war break out each time.
“I tried to depict this atmosphere of fear of the future in A Screaming Man. When you see that the world around you is going to pieces, when you have lost all your bearings, when the political and social pressure is too strong, you end up being out of your depth.”
One thing is certain and that is that Haroun is not out of his depth capturing the life, stories, colours and cultures of contemporary Africa. To read more about the film, purchase it, or to join Film Movement, visit their site.