Synopsis by Josh Ralske
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.
boarding-school, brother, abandonment, Africa, escape, headmaster, asthma