A Screaming Man [un Homme Qui Crie]

"Excellent"

A Screaming Man [un Homme Qui Crie] Review


This sensitive, beautifully made drama from Chad tells a story that's increasingly painful to watch. But the filmmakers and actors never over-play the emotions, keeping each scene so grounded that we can't help but identify with everything that happens.

As rebels march through the country killing innocent people, life seems normal at a resort hotel in the city. Former swimming champion Adam (Djaoro) has attended the pool for 30 years, now working alongside his 20-year-old son Abdel (Koma). But the new boss (Li) is sacking long-time employees, moving Adam to work as gatekeeper and promoting Abdel into his old job. This causes tensions with his wife (N'Goua), which are made worse by pressure from the local chief (M'bo). Then Abdel is drafted into the army, followed by the arrival of his pregnant 17-year-old girlfriend (Kone).

Of course, the series of personal ordeals inflicted on Adam are paralleled in the escalating violence of the civil war, which ultimately results in martial law in the city. But the filmmaker keeps the focus so intimate that we feel every event with quiet blunt force. And it's made even more moving by the way Adam never loses his cool; his gentle reactions are full of dignity, even as things become unbearable for this 55-year-old whose career, family and nation are all under attack.

Adam, his friends and family all have the same aspirations as anyone on earth, dealing with issues of class and economy even as they hope that things get better. But circumstances keep setting them back, and their oasis of calm is being invaded by outside events. Yet even amid these soul-destroying situations, the film never has a single emotional manipulative moment.

Writer-director Haroun's approach to these big issues is honest and introspective.

In addition, everything happens in the context of the community, the natural setting and the bigger picture of life in war-torn Africa. It's almost unbearably downbeat to watch all of this happen to such a nice man, but the film is so warm and humane that we feel every wrenching, earthy emotion, impeccably conveyed by the entire cast. And the result is a powerful, thoughtful, challenging exploration of the tenacity of the human spirit.



Facts and Figures

Genre: Foreign

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Cast & Crew

Director: Mahamat-Saleh Haroun

Producer: Florence Stern

Starring: Youssouf Djaoro as Adam, Dioucounda Koma as Abdel (as Diouc Koma), Emile Abossolo M'bo as Le chef de quartier, Hadje Fatime N'Goua as Mariam

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