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Abouna

Overview

Nine-year-old Amine Hamza Moctar Aguid and his older brother, Tahir Ahidjo Mahamat Moussa, are at loose ends when their father walks out on them one day for no apparent reason. Their mother Zara Haroun tells them that their father is "irresponsible." Amine doesn't understand the word, so he looks it up and ends up believing that it means their father is "not responsible" for his actions. In their search for their father, the boys go to the local cinema, where Amine is convinced that he sees their father up on the...
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Overview

Nine-year-old Amine Hamza Moctar Aguid and his older brother, Tahir Ahidjo Mahamat Moussa, are at loose ends when their father walks out on them one day for no apparent reason. Their mother Zara Haroun tells them that their father is "irresponsible." Amine doesn't understand the word, so he looks it up and ends up believing that it means their father is "not responsible" for his actions. In their search for their father, the boys go to the local cinema, where Amine is convinced that he sees their father up on the screen. He even seems to address them from the film. The two boys steal the film to examine it for evidence of their father's presence. When they're caught, their distraught mother gives up and sends them off to a madrasah, a strict Muslim boarding school. There, the headmaster's grieving wife Ramada Mahamat, whose own son has drowned, takes pity on Amine, who, on top of his emotional pains, suffers from asthma. Tahir meets a beautiful deaf mute girl Mounira Khalil who lives nearby. But the boys are woefully unhappy, and they plot their escape. When another boy teases Amine for his inability to swim, Amine responds with violence, which eventually leads to tragic results. Abouna is the second feature from Chad-born, France-based writer/director Mahamat-Saleh Haroun Bye Bye Africa. It was shown at New Directors/New Films in 2003.
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Special Features

Digital transfer enhanced for 16:9 televisions; Interview with director Mahamat-Saleb Haroun; Film shorts by Mahamat-Saleb Haroun: Goï Goï, B 400; Original theatrical trailer; Liner notes by film critic Phil Hall (Film Threat, Wired Magazine)
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Josh Ralske
Abouna is a gently heartbreaking look at the lives of two boys growing up impoverished and fatherless in Chad. Filmmaker Mahamat-Saleh Haroun mixes in telling bits of documentary realism with his story of the two boys' lackadaisical search for their father. The filmmaker takes his time with the tale, lingering on details, like a long shot of the two boys meandering across a field, roughhousing and walking on their hands. Haroun also pointedly displays posters for Charlie Chaplin's The Kid, Idrissa Ouedraogo's Yaaba, and Jim Jarmusch's Stranger Than Paradise outside the little movie theater that the boys visit. Perhaps this is a name-dropping way of letting the audience see his influences, but the signs are there in his filmmaking, too. The plot gets much more dramatic when their frustrated mother Zara Haroun sends Amine Hamza Moctar Aguid and Tahir Ahidjo Mahamat Moussa off to a strict Islamic boarding school. While the boys are treated severely there and beaten when they attempt to escape, their plight is not depicted in a melodramatic fashion. There's always a sense of life unfolding in the film. Haroun's two young leads do exceptional work, particularly Aguid as the sickly younger boy. Abouna isn't especially thrilling, either in its technique or its story line. But it's an effectively low-key and moving work, with moments of goodhearted humor that make it enjoyable, despite the grimness of its setting.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 5/17/2005
  • UPC: 037429206027
  • Original Release: 2002
  • Rating:

  • Source: Homevision
  • Region Code: 1
  • Time: 1:24:00
  • Format: DVD

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Ahidjo Mahamat Moussa Tahir
Hanza Moctar Aguid Amine
Zara Haroun Achta (Mother)
Mounira Khalil The Mute Girl
Koulsy Lamko The Father
Garba Issa The Headmaster
Technical Credits
Mahamat-Saleh Haroun Director, Screenwriter
Abraham Haile Biru Cinematographer
Laurent Cavero Production Designer
Guillaume de Seille Producer
Sarah Taouss Matton Editor
Diego Moustapha Ngarade Score Composer
Marc Nouyrigat Sound/Sound Designer
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Scene Index

Side #1 --
2. Opening Credits [2:32]
3. "Where's Daddy?" [5:50]
4. Irresponsible [6:54]
5. Amine's Condition [3:52]
6. Uncovering the Truth [3:19]
7. Dreaming of Father [4:33]
8. Desperate Prank [5:17]
9. Koran School [9:39]
10. Longing for Escape [4:56]
11. Runaways [5:33]
12. Change in Plans [7:50]
13. Missing Medicine [5:29]
14. Tahir's Grief [5:35]
15. Together Always [3:37]
16. Freedom [6:05]
17. End Credits [2:30]
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Menu

Side #1 --
   Play Movie
   Chapters
   Extras
      Interview With Mahamat-Saleh Haroun
      Film Shorts by Mahamat-Saleh Haroun
         Goï Goï
         B400
      Original Theatrical Trailer
   Setup
      Dolby 2.0
      Dolby 5.1
      English Subtitles: On
      English Subtitles: Off
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