The first sub-Saharan African film to win an award at Cannes in 13 years, Chadian director Mahamat-Saleh Haroun’s Un homme qui crie is a heart-wrenching father-and-son tale within the context of an escalating civil war. Aging ex-swimming champion Adam, aka Champ, is forced to hand over his lifelong job as a hotel pool attendant to his son due to downsizing by the new Chinese management. Meanwhile, Adam is asked to ‘contribute’ cash to the government’s war effort to spare his son from conscription.
This is the agonizing final battle of a simple, dignified man caught up by age, life and politics. Shell-shocked by the loss of his life-defining job, and blinded by an almost primitive sense of regaining his stature, Champ sacrifices what he for a moment overlooked as his most precious possession: his son.
Featuring a deeply impressive performance by Chadian actor Yussouf Djuoro and an excellent soundtrack by Paris-based Senegal-native Wasis Diop, this raw, disturbing film is shot in calm, beautiful pictures, giving an all-too-rare cinematic glimpse of Africa. Concrete, gloomy – this film inspires not optimism but lucidity. And a good deal of respect.
UN HOMME QUI CRIE | Directed by Mahamat-Saleh Haroun (France, Belgium, Chad 2010) with Youssouf Djaoro. Opens April 7