Father-son film in war-torn Chad lights up Cannes

Sun May 16, 2010 8:15am EDT
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By Mike Collett-White

CANNES, France (Reuters) - The moving story of a father's search for a son who is drafted to fight against advancing rebel forces in Chad has won admirers at the Cannes film festival, where it is in the main competition.

Underlining how the annual cinema showcase champions low-budget productions from around the world as well as Hollywood heavyweights, "A Screaming Man" has its world premiere on Sunday a day after Woody Allen was given the same honor.

Mahamat-Saleh Haroun's tale is deliberately understated, and examines what conflict means for ordinary people, and families in particular, rather than focusing on the fighting itself.

The simple story of a father and a son, laden with love as well as guilt and fear, is set against real-life violence in the African country where rebel uprisings originating in the east have undermined stability and killed hundreds in recent years.

Asked why he often focused on the relationship between father and son, Haroun told reporters after a press screening:

"This war (in Chad) is in fact perpetrated by men, it's not women who wage war.

"It's a kind of history handed down from father to son ... and from generation to generation. That's why I attach such importance to the father-son relationship," he added, speaking through an interpreter.

Haroun said the idea for A Screaming Man (Un Homme Qui Crie) originated in 2006 when he was making another film, "Daratt," in the Chadian capital of N'Djamena.   Continued...