Director: Mahamat Saleh Haroun
Stars: Youssouf Djaoro, Diouc Koma
Set against the backdrop of Chad’s 40-year civil war, as was writer/director Mahamat-Saleh Haroun’s earlier film Dry Season, this heartbreaker of foolish pride and bitter reckoning unfolds like biblical parable. It deservedly won Haroun a special jury prize at Cannes 2010.
A father and son squabble over a job, leading to an act of revenge with unforeseen and terrible consequences. But when we first meet them, frolicking in a luxury hotel pool, it’s impossible to imagine the schism to come.
Middle-aged father Adam (Youssouf Djaoro) and his 20-something son Abdel (Diouc Koma) both have jobs at the pool, another luxury in a time of civil war.
Family harmony is sundered when the hotel is taken over by new Chinese owners, who decide that one pool attendant is enough. Abdel gets to keep his job, but Adam is demoted to gatekeeper, a bitter comedown for a man who was a swimming champion in his youth.
If we could see inside Adam’s head, we might guess the extent of his anger. Haroun only hints at what is to come. Before anyone fully realizes what is happening, the father contrives payback that will have major consequences for his son and himself.
This tragedy of parental betrayal is personal in scope but universal in impact.