A Screaming Man (2011)


Critic Consensus: A Screaming Man deftly uses its personal look at a family dynamic to offer pointed political observations, confirming writer-director Mahamat-Saleh Haroun as a major talent.


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Film Forum is pleased to present the U.S. theatrical premiere of A SCREAMING MAN, written and directed by Mahamat-Saleh Haroun, beginning Wednesday, April 13. Shot in Chad, portraying the psychological fall-out of an endless civil war, A SCREAMING MAN is titled ironically, from a director who credits Ozu as his strongest influence. Adam is a former swimming medalist, now a 60-year-old hotel employee and head "pool man," who maintains this calm oasis as much for his own benefit as for the hotel's Western guests. The tensions between Adam and Abdel, his adult son, are exacerbated when he loses his job to the younger man and their fragile world begins to crumble. Complicating their relationship is the fact that rebel forces are at war with the authorities, and civilians like Adam and Abdel are under pressure to support the government. With subtlety and grace, Haroun's modern fable eschews histrionics for a smart, restrained, yet deeply feeling drama in which personality, politics and place define its characters' reality. A SCREAMING MAN was the winner of the Grand Jury Prize at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival.--(c)Film Movement

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Emile Abossolo-M'bo
as Chef de quartier
Li Heling
as Mme Wang
Sylvain Mbaikoubou
as The New Cook
Abdou Boukar
as The Maitre d'hotel
Fatimé Nguenabaye
as The Neighbor
Gérard Ganda Mayoumbila
as Noncommissioned Officer
Mahamat Choukou
as Soldier at Roadblock
Tourgoudi Oumar
as Soldier at Roadblock
Hadre Dounia
as Young Wounded Soldier
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News & Interviews for A Screaming Man

Critic Reviews for A Screaming Man

All Critics (40) | Top Critics (11)

It's an intelligent, good-looking film and one that confirms Haroun as one of Africa's leading filmmakers.

May 10, 2011 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
Time Out
Top Critic

Director Mahamat-Saleh Haroun's movie... shows the quiet desperation that results from inner and outer conflicts.

Apr 20, 2011 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

[Goes] in a blink from an intriguing personal-breakdown portrait to an all-out social autopsy on life during perpetual wartime.

Apr 13, 2011 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
Time Out
Top Critic

The film is quiet and thoughtful, yet forcefully makes its point about the folly of war.

Apr 13, 2011 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

"A Screaming Man" is a quiet, tender, finally wrenching story of an individual at the intersection of the personal and the political.

Apr 12, 2011 | Rating: 4/5

The characterizations never comfortably accommodate Haroun's pat metaphor, though his stoic visual storytelling has an oblique gravity, suggesting a slightly altered meaning to each surveying shot of the poolside patio.

Apr 12, 2011 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for A Screaming Man

Disturbing yet heart wrenching, A Screaming Man is one of the most provocative films to come out of Africa. Real and raw. Prepare for the emotional roller coaster.

John Ballantine
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer


With the civil war raging across Chad, Adam(Youssouf Djaoro) and David(Marius Yelolo) have more immediate concerns like possibly losing their jobs at a hotel resort in the upcoming privatization but reassure themselves that they are safe due to their thirty years' service. However, their confidence proves ill-founded when David is fired and Adam is reassigned away from his precious pool and to work as gatekeeper, with his son Abdel(Diouc Koma) becoming the sole pool attendant. As you can imagine, this makes for some awkward family dinners. To make matters worse, Ahmet(Emile Abossolo M'bo), the local chief, informs Adam that he has three days to pay his share of the army tax. "A Screaming Man" is a prime example of economic and sparse filmmaking in the neo-realist tradition. While it might seem more than a little strange to outsiders the importance Adam places on his pool job, it is probably best to remember the high value of water in such an arid country as Chad. It is maybe instead the tourists who should be chided for their partying in a time of war but then they are probably just believing the government propaganda. On another level, this allegorical movie could also said to be about how scary change can be, as we get a couple of reminders that Adam is not quite the person he used to be. Of course, who knows what the future will bring any of us?

Walter M.
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

A former swimming champion is replaced by his son as the pool attendant at a posh Chadian hotel. I understand why this film got rave reviews. There is a quiet power to Emile Abossolo-M'bo's performance, and the filmmaking is full of subtle moments of his character's quiet desperation. And the film doesn't make an overt, in-your-face political point, but by the end, we can't escape the folly of war. But the film is remarkably slow. One moment of strong acting is also an example of the film's main flaw: the camera starts at a three-quarter shot of Adam, and over the course of about forty-five seconds, it zooms in to a extreme close-up just as a tear forms in Adam's right eye. It takes an amazing amount of talent for an actor to make that work, and even though M'bo does, it's an incredibly long way to travel for the payoff. If this were the only slow moment in the film, I'd be raving, but cumulatively, there are at least fifteen minutes composed of Adam walking down the same streets he later rides a motorcycle down. And on and on. When Stanley Kubrick employed some of the same camerawork, it built suspense; when director Mahamet Saleh Haroun tries these tricks, it's too much, comprising a film that is tortuously slow. Overall, I'm sympathetic to the film's political points and subtle filmmaking, but if only there were a character with youthful energy (Adam's son is a prime candidate), then it would balance the film's overall meandering style.

Jim Hunter
Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

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