Winner of the Cannes Jury Prize in 2010, A Screaming Man is a subtle film: something of a character study against the backdrop of a civil war. Adam (Youssouf Djaoro) is a former African swimming champion who works as the pool attendant at a luxury hotel with his son. When new management takes over the hotel, Adam is demoted to gate attendant and his son, Abdel, is given his former job. Adam is bewildered, hurt and humiliated, and the silence between him and Abdel stretches long and deep. With a smaller pay-cheque Adam is struggling to make his contributions to the war fund, and is hounded by the district chief. As the pressure rises on Adam, the civil war creeps closer, forcing everyone into uncomfortable decisions.
A Screaming Man isn’t going to blow you away, but it might haunt you for a while. Adam’s personal plight smacks of classical Greek tragedy, played out on a more intimate scale. He is played with a great subtlety by Djaoro, who wrings poignancy out of the smallest moment. Haroun’s direction is reserved and non-invasive, comprising mainly long shots, and static or controlled camera-work. With the plot focussed on the micro, the macro of a civil war looms only in the background for most of the film. This prevents us from ever understanding too much about the politics and positions of it, instead making it more a force of nature. This makes for a refreshing change from the more polemic, often Western approaches to Africa’s war-stories. Haroun is obviously a craftsman, and his cast are excellent. This quiet film has won some rave reviews, and whilst it isn’t for everyone, it is worth checking out.
Directed by: Mahamat-Saleh Haroun
Written by: Mahamat-Saleh Haroun
Featuring: Youssouf Djaoro, Diouc Koma, Djeneba Kone
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James performs a plethora of tasks for Raindance; writing articles, editing the newsletter, managing Twitter, helping on courses, organising volunteers and running the script services are but a few of the ones he is allowed to tell you about.
When he isn’t daydreaming about daylight he watches films (well, duh!) reads a bit, writes a bit and kicks arse at ultimate Frisbee.
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