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Still from Un homme qui crie
The sole African entry in competition at Cannes is a metaphor for the continent and even our planet, according to its director, Chadian film-maker Mahamat Saleh Haroun.
Un homme qui crie is a water-borne story, Haroun told RFI. Its hero Adam is a member of an ethnic group whose main occupation is fishing, “where children are traditionally born in water”, and he becomes a champion swimmer.
That entitles him to find work as a swimming pool attendant in a luxury hotel, a job which ends in humiliation when his own son replaces him.
Adam’s “world falls to pieces little by little and he loses all he owns,” says Haroun.
His son, Abdel, takes his job because he looks fitter, which is more attractive to the hotel’s clientele. Then, under pressure from local leaders, Adam sends his son off to war.
This “sacrifice” leads Adam to pose philosophical questions, says Haroun. Does God exist? What is he doing? Is he watching?
The film can be read as a metaphor for Africa, according to its director.
“Fathers are mortgaging coming generations’ future,” he concludes.
And not just in Africa.
“That’s the case for the whole planet - if you look at the ecology it’s clear that our generations have wrecked the planet for those who will follow.”