Un homme qui crie (A Screaming Man) (2010)

 

 

 

 

 

Director:     .

Starring:     Youssouf Djaoro (Adam Ousmane 'Champion'), Dioucounda Koma (Abdel Ousmane Koma), Emile Abossolo M'bo (Le chef de quartier), Hadje Fatime N'Goua (Mariam), Marius Yelolo (David), Djénéba Koné (Djénéba Koné), Heling Li (Mme Wang), Rémadji Adèle Ngaradoumbaye (Souad), John Mbaiedoum (Etienne), Sylvain Mbaikoubou (Le nouveau cuisinier), Abdou Boukar (Le maître d'hôtel), Fatimé Nguenabaye (La voisine), Gérard Ganda Mayoumbila (Le sous-officier).

civil war in Chad makes life harder for a 55 year old man

 

Spoiler Warning:

A young man named Abdel, who works as a hotel swimming pool attendant, is told by his father Adam, who also works at the hotel, that he should always wear white.   Abdel responds by saying the washing machine is broken and all his white t-shirts are dirty. 

A worker at the hotel tells Adam that he is worried about the hotel privatization.  Adam tells him not to worry because they have been working at this hotel for 30 years.

A radio announcer broadcasts:  "This morning, patriotic organizations held a meeting in support of the government forces to say no to rebel attacks on the peaceful population.  It took place at the N'djamena National Stadium. . . . Tens of thousands of people attended the 2-hour meeting.  United together in a collective, the patriotic groups condemn the incessant rebel attacks perpetrated throughout Chad."  [Chad is bordered by Libya to the north, Sudan to the east, the Central African Republic to the south, Cameroon and Nigeria to the southwest and Niger to the west, and it's the fifth largest country in Africa in terms of area.]

Abdel comes home and his father asks him where has he been?  Abdel is very evasive about his answer. 

Adam is on his motorcycle and has to stop at a check point.  A woman soldier checks his papers and pats him down for any possible weapons. 

The worker at the hotel who was worried about hotel privatization informs Adam that he has been fired.  Now it's Adam's turn to go in and see the new female hotel manager, Mrs. Wang.  She tells Adam that they don't need two pool attendants.  Adam explains to her that the pool is his very life.  He adds that he was Chad's first pool attendant.  Moreover, he was the Central African Swimming Champion of 1965.

Abdel gets called into see Mrs. Wang.  Later dad asks what did Mrs. Wang said to him.  Abdel doesn't answer his father. 

Adam sits in a bar.  A Muslim named Ahmat comes over and sits down by him.  He tells Champ that he's disappointed that Adam didn't come to the meeting last night.  The clergyman says that Champ hasn't paid his war contribution to stop the rebels from overrunning the country.   

Adam is called into the office.  Mrs. Wang's assistant tells him that from now on Adam will be the hotel gatekeeper.  Abdel will be the pool attendant.  Adam feels very bad about the news. 

Adam puts on his hotel uniform.  His son Abdel tells his father that he's sorry, but he needs this job too, because he has his own obligations. 

Adam hates the new job.  He sits down outside the kitchen.  The new cook, Masra, comes over to Champ to introduce himself. 

At dinner, mother complains that nobody is talking except her.  They didn't even compliment her on her cooking.  She wants to know what's going on?  More silence. 

Adam thinks that everyone thinks he's too old.  He starts doing his sit-ups again. 

Now Abdel has the motorcycle and dad has to walk.  He sees Abdel giving a woman a ride in the motorcycle sidecar.  Ahmat in a car stops for Champ and gives him a ride to the hotel.  The friend asks how old Champ's son is?  He's 20.  The friend says that for the war effort he gave his 17 year old son to the army.  He's going to be a captain.  Champ says to Ahmat that it's not that he won't pay the war fee.  He's just plain broke.  Ahmat says that Adam has just three days to pay the fee. 

Adam goes to the hotel.  There are soldiers around the pool area.  He passes by Abdel, but says nothing to him.  He sits down in his chair and just stares straight ahead. 

Adam goes to visit the former cook, David, who is now in the hospital with a bad heart. 

Abdel comes home late.  His dad listens to his movements. 

The next morning Adam stays late in bed.  Abdel comes over to try and cheer him up and get him to eat something. 

The army now comes to get Abdel.  He's been drafted.  Adam tries to get away from the soldiers, but he can't.   Did Champ give his son to the army? 

Now Dad is back as the pool attendant, but he still doesn't look happy. 

There's a lot of white soldiers in the hotel.  They are French soldiers.  Champ listens to the radio.  Rebel incursions are on the increase in the east.  37 rebels were taken captive. 

Abdel's girlfriend comes to see his mother. Mother is surprised but she welcome the young woman into her house. 

David comes to visit Champ.  David tries to get his friend to eat some food, but Champ just asks David if he believes in God.  David say he believes in God, but he is starting to lose faith in Him. 

Champ tells his wife, Mariam, that he is now fasting until their son comes home. 

Champ asks his son's girlfriend, what is her name?  It's Djénéba Koné.  She's 17 years old.  And she's from the country of Mali.  She says she's a singer. Djénéba met Abdel in a bar where she was singing.  He took her out to eat and they have been together for a year now.  And she now is expecting to have his baby.  She asks where is Abdel?  They say she can live with them now.

And now Champ wants to get Abdel out of the army.  He asks Ahmet to get his boy out, but the army doesn't work that way.  Champ says he'll go in his son's place, but Ahmet says Champ is too old for that. 

 In the lake Champ cries over what he did to his son. 

Adam is having his hair cut.  A young, wounded soldier comes over and asks if the man is Abdel's father?  Yes.  He says Abdel is okay, but he wants his girlfriend to have a cassette he made for her.

The girlfriend listens to the tape.  Abdel says it's been hell here.  And they have been fighting.  He lost two of his friends to the fighting.  Abdel says he's at the Abeche barracks for now, but he'll be going to the front soon. 

Adam works on the pool.  Mrs. Wang comes over to see him.  She tells him that, at least, she can rely on him and she thanks him for that.  She says that none of the other staff are coming in today. 

On the radio, the news is that in the southeast there has been heavy combat between government forces and RPJ rebels.   A curfew has now been declared throughout the whole country from 6 pm to 6 am. 

After dark, Adam goes riding on his motorcycle.  He hears gun shots.  He is stopped by government troops.  There's a bit of a struggle, then someone recognizes Champ and they let him go.  Champ returns home. 

The neighbor comes over to Mariam to tell her that she and her family are leaving for Cameroon.  The rebel troops are coming this way.

Mariam tells her husband that everyone's leaving .  She tells him:  "Do something.  We can't just stay here."   Adam asks what about his job at the pool?  She says this is a life and death situation and Adam is talking about his job?  She says he's really changed.  He says he hasn't changed.  The world has changed. 

In the morning everyone is leaving.  Three of the people leaving are Ahmat and his two children.  Champ sees Ahmat leaving and gets really mad and starts manhandling Ahmat.  Ahmat pulls his pistol to get Champ off of him. 

People with a loud speaker tell the people to go back home.  The situation is back to normal.  The refugees, however, pay no heed to the request to go back home.  They keep leaving the city. 

Adam goes back home and tells Djénéba Koné that he gave up Adam to the army. She starts screaming and Adam has to cover her mouth to stop her.  He struggles with her to keep her quiet.  When she quiets down, he releases her. 

Now Adam is using his motorcycle to go out of town.  After awhile he is moving through the desert.   He keeps going until he reaches the Abeche barracks.  The army guards let him go into the barracks area.  Adam gets sent to a hospital tent.  His son has been badly wounded and he tells his father that he wants to go home.  At night Adam sneaks into the tent, puts Abdel in a wheel chair and takes the boy to his motorcycle side car.

It's morning now and dad is driving Abdel back home across the dessert.  He stops by the roadside to give Abdel something to eat and drink.  At this time Abdel tells his father he knows about everything.  He takes his father's hand as a sign of forgiveness.  Abdel then says he wants to swim in the river.

Dad gets Abdel down to the river, but by this time Abdel is dead.  Dad sits with his dead son on the river bank.  He then sets his son adrift in the river.  His body goes downstream. 

 

 

Adam was once the swimming champion of Chad.  People know his name and call him "Champ".  He has had a job in a motel as a pool attendant for some 30 years. At present, his son Abdel works as his assistant.  The new owners, however, are making changes.  They fire the cook and, seeing how much more energy Abdel has as pool attendant, they make Abdel the pool attendant and make Adam the gate keeper.  Adam is crushed by this.  He feels as though people think he's too old for his regular job, so they demoted him.   As Adam always says, the pool is his very life.  Adam starts losing perspective over the demotion and this is going to lead him into some deep trouble.  The story is set at a time that finds Chad in still another civil war, this one 2005-2010.  The moral of the story:  think positively about life and be a bit philosophical  --  and don't loose sight of what's really important in life.  The acting was good.  Enjoyed it. 

 

Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D.


 

Historical Background:

 

1891  --  the French penetrated into Chad.

1905  --  administrative responsibility for Chad was placed under a governor-general stationed at Brazzaville, capital of French Equatorial Africa (AEF).

1920  -- Chad did not have a separate colonial status until this time. 

1947(February)  --  the radical Chadian Progressive Party (PPT) is founded.  It represented the Christian and animist south.

1947 (November) --  founding of the more conservative Chadian Democratic Union (UDT).  Represented the Islamic north.

28 September 1958  --  after a referendum on territorial autonomy on, French Equatorial Africa was dissolved.

28 November 1958  --   the four constituent states of French Equatorial Africa– Gabon, Congo (Brazzaville), the Central African Republic, and Chad --  became autonomous members of the French Community.

from 1959  --  the PPT was headed by François Tombalbaye.  He formed a government.  

1960 - 1975  --  Tombalbaye Era.  He became a dictator.

November 1, 1965  --  a tax revolt in the Guéra Prefecture caused 500 deaths.

1966  --  the birth in Sudan of the National Liberation Front of Chad (FROLINAT), created to militarily oust Tombalbaye and the Southern dominance. It was the start of a bloody civil war.  Tombalbaye at first used French troops, but then he sought help from the Libyan president Gaddafi.

April 13, 1975  --  several units of N'Djamena's gendarmerie killed Tombalbaye during a coup.

1975-1978  --  military rule.  The southerner General Félix Malloum emerged early as the chairman of the new junta.

1978  --  Molloum allied himself with the insurgent leader Hissène Habré, who entered the government as prime minister.

1979 (February)  --  Prime Minister Habré sends his forces against Malloum's national army in the capital.  Malloum ousted. 

1979-1982  --  civil war.  Other African governments decided to intervene.

November 1979  --  the Transitional Government of National Unity (GUNT) was created with a mandate to govern for 18 months. Goukouni Oueddei, a northerner, was named President.

January 1980  --  fighting broke out again between Goukouni's and Habré's forces.

June 1982  --  Habré's forces enter N’Djamena.

1982-1990  --the Habré era. 

2005-2010  --  recent civil war. 

 

 

 

 

 

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