A Screaming Man

Un homme qui crie A Screaming Man

Hollywood could never have caught Chad on film like Mahamat-Saleh Haroun did.

From the death-defying motorcycle rides through the streets of Chad's capital to the unique mix of language and accents characteristic of Chad, Haroun has delivered the closest look at Chad most in the West will ever get in a convenient DVD.

A Screaming Man features the story of Adam, an aging Chadian who won the 1965 Central African Swimming Championship. Now manager of the pool at a hotel that serves foreign expats and French soldiers, Adam finds himself less and less relevant and increasingly in the shadow of his son Abdel. When the new Chinese manager demotes Adam and makes Abdel pool-keeper, Adam, who cries, "The pool is my life," starts a series of events that take him and the audience across the whole country of Chad and the whole span of human emotions.

Haroun's Masterpiece

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Haroun artfully depicts both the most beautiful side of Chad and the most dark and dangerous. Many of the shots, including street and driving shots, Haroun must have shot live without sequencing, as they resemble perfectly the pandemonium that Chadians call home and Westerners call chaos. A Screaming Man is both sensory-rich and viscerally moving. As the camera focuses on black hands cracking a watermelon fresh from market, the audience can practically taste its sweet flesh, and as a young girl cries for her lover perilously on the front lines of war, the audience is wet with her tears.

Still, A Screaming Man isn't for everyone. The American 3D action flick crowd might find A Screaming Man a bit tedious. Haroun prefers to keep the camera rolling to let actors express emotions as opposed to jumping from shot to shot in quick succession. Haroun doesn't employ special effects, and although the mood of war permeates the film, it lacks any real violence beyond a couple gunpoint encounters.

Although practically an unknown among Western film enthusiasts, Mahamat-Saleh Haroun's brilliance in directing and unconventional style promise to take him even further than last year's Jury Prize at Cannes. Haroun recruits largely from a close network of actors from his previous work, and he maintains meticulous control over the production of his films. Those actors often find themselves in a curious and compelling environment. One of Haroun's signature techniques is giving an actor just his lines - not the lines of those they will be interacting with - and catching on film the authentic reactions that follow.

Authentic is exactly the word to define A Screaming Man. And whether you're a past visitor of Chad or simply a follower of independent films, A Screaming Man is a must-see.

You can pre-order A Screaming Man for its release date of August 2, 2011 on Amazon, or if you want it now, purchase your copy from the company that owns the film's North American rights at filmmovement.com. The film's French title is Un Homme Qui Crie.

View the Un Homme Qui Crie trailer on YouTube (English subtitles).