March 13, 2004

Chad's Dads

Mahamat-Saleh Haroun's Abouna, image:sundancechannel.comOnly three feature films have been made in the impoverished African nation of Chad. Two of them, including Abouna, were made by Mahamat-Saleh Haroun.

Abouna, or Our Father, tells the story of two young brothers who think they catch a glimpse of their long-gone father in a movie. They steal the reel of 35-mm film to find the image again. David Kehr says of Abouna, "Much of the emotional power and intellectual depth of the movie comes from Mr. Haroun's metaphorical identification of film and father as the two forces that shape the personalities of his young protagonists but that remain ultimately elusive and mysterious."

In Kehr's NYTimes article and in an interview at the 2002 Edinburgh Festival, Haroun explains Chad's problem of vanishing fathers, men who go abroad in search of work--and don't come back when they fail.

Abouna screened last year in New Directors/New Films, and will be on Sundance Channel starting Sunday night as part of the Voices from Africa program.

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