The ongoing civil war in Chad is a topic infrequently discussed by major political figures and by the media. Beginning in 2005, the conflict exists primarily between the government forces of Chad and several Chadian rebel groups. Its roots lie in numerous causes, most notably the Darfur conflict in Sudan which spilled over the border into Chad, as well as the Central African Republic Bush War. Many civilians have been killed in the conflict. It is not the first civil war Chad has ever seen; fighting also broke out in 1965-1979, 1979-1982, and 1998-2002.
Enter the film Un homme qui crie, literally “a screaming man,” as the movie is known to its English audiences. It centers on the story of Adam, whose job is to attend to the pool at a swanky hotel. Though he has held the position for thirty years of his life, new Chinese owners don’t see the point in retaining such an aged employee. He must relinquish his job to his son Abdel, for which he feels ashamed and disgraced. Meanwhile, he is being constantly harangued to give money to the government troops to “support the war effort” against rebellious groups. Yet Adam has no money, just his son. The fighting nears his village and he is forced to come to a decision with the rebels that he might prove to regret. The film covers sensitive themes such as the interaction between father and son and how it changes due to the transferral of Adam’s job to his son, as well as the impact of messy, violent civil war on inhabitants. The title was chosen by Harou because Adam is not screaming due to and at the troubles he is facing at a result of war; rather, he is screaming at the silence God directs toward him.
Mahamat-Saleh Harou is a well-known and highly celebrated Chadian director who has lived in France since the early 1980s, moving at the end of the second civil war in Chad. Un homme qui crie has already won the Jury Prize in the Cannes Film Festival this year. Harou is the first Chadian director to win such a prestigious award. Many are praising the performance of Youssouf Djaoro as Adam as well. Djaoro has already starred in a celebrated film directed by Harou, titled Daratt (2006), also set in Chad during wartime (specifically, the longest of Chad’s civil wars). Daratt and an earlier film, Abouna (2002), also set in Chad, have also won several awards for Harou.
To view the trailer, follow the link: www.youtube.com/watch
Fabienne Bradfer, “Un homme qui crie,” MAD for Le Soir.
“Mahamat Saleh Haroun,” Wikipedia.
“Civil war in Chad (2005-present),” Wikipedia.