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A Screaming Man

by on July 12, 2011
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“A Screaming Man” is the type of film that makes you appreciate the simple pleasures in life, especially for those fortunate enough to live in a first world country.  The film takes place in the African nation of Chad, which is one of the most impoverished nations in the world.  Amidst the genocide and widespread corruption, exists a  heartfelt story of a family struggling to make ends meet.  The lead character Champ, a former swimming champion, works as the head “pool guy” with his son Abdel.  Due to the neverending civil war that surrounds him, Champ is pressured into paying his war contribution.  Things go from bad to worse for the family after he takes too long to come up with the money.

Chad being the melting pot that is, the dialogue in the film is a mishmash of both French and Arabic.  It makes for a truly unique and diverse layout.  I enjoyed the simple plot structure and the incredible attention to detail in regards to character development as well.  The portrayal of shear desperation exhibited by all the main characters in the film is downright perfect.  The acting is simply stellar especially given the minimal budget of the film.  Director Mahamat-Saleh Haroun manages to paint a grim picture of a society in abject turmoil.  Champ’s slow decline into madness is representory of the plight of every Chadian.  In a country where constant turmoil is the norm, it becomes increasingly difficult to maintain a life worth living.  Watching a group of well-meaning individuals lose faith in all they believe in is incredibly arduous.  The only iota of hope that I managed to draw from the film, existed in Champ’s willingness to put his family’s well-being before his own, but this notion of a better life does not exist so long as he stays in Chad.

“A Screaming Man” can best be summed up by the following line of dialogue: “Our problem is that we put our destiny in God’s hands”.  This theme of losing faith in one’s own religion is used repeatedly.  This Anti-God motif serves to show just how dire the situation has become for Champ and his family.  Despite its admittedly depressing premise, the film is set up in such a way that it manages to reel you in and keep you thoroughly engaged from start to finish.  For better or worse, the overall plot is incredibly relatable.  It’s truly a powerful film in a long line of similar works regarding the plight of Africans.  For fans of “Hotel Rwanda” and “Sometime in April”.  Definitely a film that will prove to be a standout at this year’s festival.