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A Screaming Man [DVD]
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A Screaming Man (Cannes 2010 Jury Prize winner) is a meditative feature about paternal pride against the backdrop of a war, from award-winning director Mahamat-Saleh Haroun (Abouna; Daratt). When Adam is forced to give up his job as a pool attendant to his son, he is left hurt, resentful and humiliated.
With the country in the throes of civil war, the authorities are demanding that citizens give money or volunteer for the war effort. Adam is penniless, and under pressure to contribute, he commits a terrible act of betrayal.
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It's not every day that the star character is a 60 year old former national swimming champion, who's now more than happy - and resolutely proud - of his job as pool attendant at a posh, luxury hotel. But, as civil war slowly envelopes both the country and the film, it is Adam's (aka "The Champ") son, Abdel, who is causing turmoil for his father.
As it's noticed by the foreign hotel owner/managers that Adam is taking things more leisurely these days and he gets shuffled over to gate duty, dolled up in a starched uniform, his son gets his old job. This naturally causes ripples and resentment that go beyond the Hotel.
This beautifully shot movie from director Mahamat-Saleh Haroun is more observational than it is about making statements and stuffing opinion down on us. The story and the characters unfold naturally; we can take it at the steady pace that it is set and enjoy it as such. Or, you can really dig yourself deep within the different culture and attitudes to status, relationships, Imperialism and War and soak it all up. I hope to do the latter when I watch it again via the recording I made of it.
However, it is the final 15, 20 minutes that turn this drama into something much more profound and moving. I promise you, you will change your seated position, clear your throat and maybe inwardly murmur something to yourself as you sense a change of the overall stature is increased.
I'm not saying that A Screaming Man has to be seen by everybody or that it is the best Foreign language film of that year. It's different enough to get noticed, is topical without trying TOO hard and we are rewarded with a final chapter that is undoubtedly emotionally very moving. That's not a bad combination....
This quietly impressive film tackles such weighty subjects as families, relationships, love, poverty, guilt, envy, religion and the hope of redemption. Quite an ask all said, but then Haroun is clearly a very gifted director. He has the same unnaffectedness as the great Japanese director Ozu, with whom he has not unreasonably been compared with. Haroun himself was wounded in the early eighties during the decades of civil wars that Chad has suffered, so he can speak from genuine life experience. Chad is a world where losing your job can mean no food. Watch the lovely scenes between Adam and the sacked Congolese cook to see what I mean! It is also a place where even family loyalties can often be sorely tested, which leads to a terrible act.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I found this masterpiece work art, at a local music- video store. Love the cinematography, the story well-suited for our ever changing world. Read morePublished 13 months ago by john