A SCREAMING MAN (Un Homme Qui Crie)


a-screaming-man-un-homme-qui-crie-nov-17thAdam, a former swimming champion now in his sixties, works with his 20 year old son as a pool attendant at a Chinese owned hotel in Chad, where civil war is breaking out again. A government edict requires all citizens to contribute financially or by conscription to the war effort. Adam has no money and his son is sent to the war. Adam is left to ponder his motives and the consequences of this decision. “Haroun, himself affected by the civil wars in Chad, clearly knows what he is talking about and slowly but surely grips us with the old man’s dilemma.” – Derek Malcom, Evening Standard. (Cert PG)
Dir: Mahamat-Saleh Haroun 87 mins Chad/Fra./Belg. 2010
Preceded by Annual General Meeting at 7.30 p.m.

Programme Notes

A Screaming Man (Un Homme Qui Crie)
Chad, France, Belgium 2010 87 minutes Cert. PG

Adam, a former champion swimmer, leads a life centred on his job as a security guard at a hotel swimming pool. Because of concerns about yet another war (in Chad) he is transferred to the gate and his son, Abdel, replaces him. Then he comes under pressure to support the war effort, either by contributing money or, failing that, putting his son in the army. It’s not a true choice and his son goes to war. After Abdel’s departure, his pregnant girlfriend is taken in by Adam and his wife. At the front things go badly.

A Screaming Man, awarded the Cannes Jury Prize in 2010, is quite a small film, almost certainly deliberately so – even if the funds had been available for big battle scenes with Hollywood pyrotechnics, one feels the director would have gracefully declined them. The film’s delicacy, ironically, gives it a greater impact than lots of big bangs and a deafening sound track would have done.

Adam Ousmane ‘Champion’ – Youssouf Djaoro
Abdel Ousmane – Diouc Koma
District Chief – Emile Abossolo M’bo
Mariam – Hadjé Fatimé N’Goua
David – Marius Yelolo
Djénéba Koné – Djénéba Koné

Director – Mahamat-Saleh Haroun
Screenplay – Mahamat-Saleh Haroun
Cinematography – Laurence Brunet
Editing – Marie-Hélène Dozo
Original Music – Wasis Diop
Producer – Florence Stern

“The film’s images and themes are more memorable and persuasive than its relationships and plot turns, some of which tend towards the unconvincing. But A Screaming Man has a slow, cumulative power and is a moving comment on how war corrupts in the most unlikely and unnatural of ways… but [Haroun] remains one of Francophone African cinema’s leading talents.” – Dave Calhoun, Time Out

“For me my obsession is how to enter African cinema into the history of the world. We have been absent for so long, we can’t start playing in the tenth division. The fact that we have been invisible for so long means we have to catch up. It is important for the next generation, and film audiences, to sense that there is progress – that something is going on! … It’s not finished. The war is still going on” – Mahamat-Saleh Haroun, interview in Sight and Sound, June 2011 (online at http://www.bfi.org.uk/sightandsound/feature/49729/).


“The best film I’ve seen in years! A riveting demonstration of how devastating powerlessness in the face of heartless change can be to some one of such a peaceful [peaceable] nature, in having the rug pulled from under him so comprehensively. What a [marvellous] portrait of dignity in despair and shame.”

“The best film so far this season, with everyone playing their part. A particular tribute should be paid to Hadje Fatime N’Goua [who played Mariam].”

“Outstanding – flawless in almost every respect. Touching and avoided all the possible false steps.”

“Such a moving film – the photography, the faces, the searing light and shadows.”

“A film of unremitting, predictable and inevitable sadness – right from the first frame.”

“A very moving and human story”

“This down-to-earth war drama had superb screen acting and convincing sound design blended with a simple story and stunning cinemaphotography. Without doubt, the best French language film in the programme by a country mile!”

“This film was an excellent example of why I joined the Film Society – to get a glimpse of other lives and countries and situations. Powerful and understated – difficult at times to understand the politics and characters but beautifully photographed and told.”

“How fascinating to get a glimpse of Chad.”

“A great little film, with a well-told poignant story and some great photography. All this and the AGM – what more could you want?”

“Thank you ABCD, for bringing [us] films from a culture we rarely experience. More from Africa next year?”

“Most enjoyable but Chad won’t be on my holiday list!”

“If people think they’ve got it bad here, perhaps they should try living somewhere like Chad – with rebels everywhere – but is petrol for m/cycles cheaper there? Why are all these mid-African countries so war mad? It doesn’t make sense. Is it their governments? Are they all so bad? The one thing I never associated with Africans was swimming – just goes to show how little I know!”

“Deliberate but touching”

“Different and interesting, if somewhat tragic”

“Not cheerful”

“A well-told tale”

“Very convincing account”

“An impressive piece of work. I could have killed those cicadas, though!”

“Beautifully photographed but rather slow – more like a sequence of tableaux [vivants].”

“A little slow”

“Simple and effective – until the last 20mins, when the inevitable end[ing] was far too drawn-out.”

“Longeurs are all very well – but only up to a point …”

“This film really taxed my patience, which was only semi-rewarded by the poignant redemption of final scenes.”

“Very sad, Chad but the film was quite bad. Too slow and elliptical, with too many lingering shots of little meaning. The AGM was more exciting!”


A:18, B:16, C:7, D:1, E:0 to give 80%