Mahamat-Saleh Haroun, one of the directors participating in the Jeonju Digital Project 2008, selected his second feature film Abouna(2002), as the film he hopes to show our audience. With his last feature film Darrat(2006) having been screened at the JIFF last year, this film perfectly shows the characteristics of this director, who has the ability to strike a perfect balance between sentimentality and detachment. His films effectively persuade us to believe in the power of humanism as a sort of artistic attitude to the world. Brothers Tahir and Amine fall into despair upon finding out that their father is missing. No matter how long they wait, their father doesn´t show up. One day at the movie theater - which has posters of Charlie Chaplin´s The Kid(1921), Jim Jarmusch´s Stranger than Paradise(1984), and Idrissa Ouedraogo´s Yaaba(1989) on the outer wall - they are surprised to discover their lost father on the screen. They sneak into the theater and steal the film, yet soon get caught for their theft and are sent to a strict Koran School. For the most part, Abouna features comic situations and dialogues, yet suddenly changes the atmosphere by depicting the two brothers´ desperate search for their father as a roundabout utterance on the social reality of Chad. Without being hasty, the director carefully injects emotion into every single shot. We can also feel the strength of the director´s cinematic gaze in the images of the two brothers walking through the desolate scenery and in the faces of the kids standing in rows.
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