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Abouna (2002) Review



Director: Mahamat-Saleh Haroun

Cast: Ahidjo Mahamat Moussa, Hamza Moctar Aguid, Liamza Moctar Agud, Zara Haroun


Review (Spoilers)

Peter Bradshaw The Guardian, Friday 22 November 2002


This is a beautifully gentle and lucid film from the Chadian writer-director Mahamet Saleh Haroun; it rises head and shoulders above the rest of the week’s new releases. Rich in understated humanity, Abouna is a film about love and loss, imbued with the most profound tenderness towards children and childhood. It manages, in the most remarkable way, to get extraordinarily dramatic life events in the lives of two young boys into just 81 minutes of screen time, while always maintaining its unhurried walking-pace narrative. It never harasses or hectors its audience; the performances are calm and deeply felt, and so is the way they are shaped and photographed.

Tahir (Ahidjo Mahamat Moussa) and Amine (Hamza Moctar Aguid) are the two young leads, boys of 15 and eight years old. Just before the opening credits we see a man wandering the desert in an ambiguous, semi-hallucinatory sequence; he finally looks directly into the camera, at us, an unreadable expression on his face. Wistfulness? Excitement? Regret? It is only when the film is under way that we realise that he is the boys’ father who has just deserted the family home, having been unemployed for years before that and going through a pretence of heading off for work every day. He never appears on screen after this initial moment, and thus Haroun has brilliantly and compassionately found a way to approximate the pathos of memory: throughout the picture, we remember what the father looks like – but like the boys, we are never to see him again.

Rest here:


This film is readily available on DVD with English subtitles in the US  and UK


September 4, 2009 - Posted by | 1, africa, african, world cinema, film festival | , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. Will try and find a trailer.

    Comment by filmingafrica | September 4, 2009 | Reply

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