Our Father (Abouna) (2002) - Rotten Tomatoes

Our Father (Abouna) (2002)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

Nine-year-old Amine (Hamza Moctar Aguid) and his older brother, Tahir (Ahidjo Mahamat Moussa), are at loose ends when their father walks out on them one day for no apparent reason. Their mother (Zara Haroun) tells them that their father is "irresponsible." Amine doesn't understand the word, so he looks it up and ends up believing that it means their father is "not responsible" for his actions. In their search for their father, the boys go to the local cinema, where Amine is convinced that he sees their father up on the screen. He even seems to address them from the film. The two boys steal the film to examine it for evidence of their father's presence. When they're caught, their distraught mother gives up and sends them off to a madrasah, a strict Muslim boarding school. There, the headmaster's grieving wife (Ramada Mahamat), whose own son has drowned, takes pity on Amine, who, on top of his emotional pains, suffers from asthma. Tahir meets a beautiful deaf mute girl (Mounira Khalil) who lives nearby. But the boys are woefully unhappy, and they plot their escape. When another boy teases Amine for his inability to swim, Amine responds with violence, which eventually leads to tragic results. Abouna is the second feature from Chad-born, France-based writer/director Mahamat-Saleh Haroun (Bye Bye Africa). It was shown at New Directors/New Films in 2003.


Mounira Khalil
as Mute Girl
Garba Issa
as The Headmaster
Ramada Mahamat
as Teacher's Wife
Sossal Mahamat
as Teacher's Assistant
Christophe N'Garoyal
as Factory Manager
Haoua Tantine Abakar
as Angry Neighbor
Albert Adoum
as Fighting Boy
Abakar Mahamet-Saleh
as Boy with Football
Ali Kaya Akacha
as Pupil in Front of School
Maki Malloum
as Hospital Attendant
Charles Mahamat
as Policeman
Abba Sabre
as Cinema Attendant
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Critic Reviews for Our Father (Abouna)

All Critics (13) | Top Critics (4)

While it doesn't tell a story that satisfies most Western eyes, in some ways that's part of the strength of Abouna.

February 26, 2004 | Rating: 3/4

Suffers from largely rudderless direction, relying for any sense of profundity on the breathtaking beauty of Abraham Haile Biru's cinematography.

February 20, 2004 | Rating: 2/4

Lyrical and stoic.

February 18, 2004

Mahamat-Selah Haroun's second feature film reveals both the beauties and the harsh realities of modern African life.

April 5, 2003 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

Gorgeously photographed, thematically complex and nothing if not ambitious, but strangely lacking in emotional punch.

March 29, 2006 | Rating: 3.5/5 | Full Review…

With its use of nonprofessional actors and actual locations, this is neorealism via Chad. However, Abouna is more moving to describe than it is to watch.

April 9, 2004 | Rating: 2.75/5 | Full Review…

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