13 October 2005

Abouna: Chad on Screen, with Great Music

I love good movies, ones that leave you with both questions and a sense of satisfaction. And of course if the film also has a great world music soundtrack, I'll climb up on the rooftop and shout for joy.

Abouna (Our Father) is one such film. Its understated plot about two boys seeking their disappeared father takes place in a world saturated with color and rich with humanity. One of very few films to be made in Chad, Abouna manages a balance between pain and beauty, with plenty of descriptive silence. The soundtrack by Ali Farka Toure echoes the sparse landscape. (I haven't found the soundtrack itself anywhere; I'd welcome information about whether and where it's available.)

In an engaging interview included on the DVD, director Mahamat-Saleh Haroun says that the characters' pain "is so powerful because there is something beautiful in it." He also notes that there are no professional actors in Chad, and almost no infrastructure, so the film was made with inexperienced - but very sincere - actors.

Read an interview with director Mahamat-Saleh Haroun at Filmmaker Magazine.

Haroun is next working on a film about Orchestra Baobab. Can't wait to see it.

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