African cinema comes to Cannes with a Chadian film sublimating the “heroines of everyday life”

Lingui the sacred bonds, by director Mahamat-Saleh Harounpose is one of only two films from the continent in competition this year. An invitation to enter the world of victimized women from N’Djamena which will undoubtedly not leave the Festival jury indifferent.

Heavily under-represented in global film production, Africa entered competition at the Cannes Film Festival with a Chadian film on abortion and female circumcision, featuring women united to survive in an ultra-conservative society. Lingui, the sacred bonds by director Mahamat Saleh Haroun, who received the Jury Prize at Cannes in 2010 for A screaming man , is one of the two films from the continent (out of 24 in total) competing for the Palme d’Or, alongside Tall and strong by Moroccan Nabil Ayouch.

In the history of the festival, only one director from the African continent has been awarded the supreme distinction: the Algerian Mohammed Lakhdar-Hamina in 1975 with Chronicle of the years of embers.

Regular at the festival (his second feature film Abouna had been selected in 2002 for the Directors’ Fortnight), Mahamat Saleh Haroun never tires of it. “It’s really a pleasure to be there today, each time, there are new emotions“, He told AFP.

Permanent nightmare

Aware of being the only representative of sub-Saharan Africa, the director assumes to be one of his voices, without wanting to be reduced to the rank of spokesperson for this region. “I am only a passing wind but for life to continue we also need other winds, squallsHe jokes.

Excerpt from the film Lingui the sacred bonds Ad Vitam Distribution

We are modestly trying to get things done. While filming in the Sahel, I am also aware that it is a place where I can produce positive images in a place where life is a permanent nightmare.“, Underlines the one who was for a time Minister of Culture and Tourism of his country.

SEE ALSO – Lingui the sacred bonds

Filmed in the suburbs of the Chadian capital N’Djamena, the film tells the story of Amina, a single mother, who discovers that her 15-year-old daughter, Maria, is pregnant. A pregnancy, the result of rape, that the teenager does not want, in a country where abortion is condemned by religion, but also by law.

Alone, marginalized, watched, the film paints a strong portrait of women trying to survive in a hostile environment where patriarchy and religion poison women’s lives. Only light of hope, “lingui“, A link that women will weave between themselves in an attempt to get out of it.

Excerpt from the film Lingui the sacred bonds Ad Vitam Distribution

As when Amina, chooses to support her daughter in her quest to have an abortion, going against her faith.


For its director, the film does not only deal with the issue of abortion but with “daily life of womenIn Chad. “It’s a film about everyday heroines (…). They are the ones who carry the world which keeps them in a form of domination. Talking about women is necessarily talking about all these problems», He emphasizes

Excerpt from the film Lingui the sacred bonds Ad Vitam Distribution

These women are hurdlers … Every day there are more hurdles to jump and life is increasingly difficult for them.He continues. Throughout the story, the viewer feels the director’s benevolent gaze on these women in desperate quest for emancipation, at a time when the cinema questions the male gaze in films (male gauze).

As a man, I am part of the patriarchy but we always manage as individuals in conscience to get rid of everything we have inherited. We must believe in this possibility that man can change ”, he assures.

A stripped-down film, which succeeds in transporting the viewer to the reality of N’Djamena. “I grew up being stripped down, for me it is important to go to the essentials”, he explains.

The other film in the competition program for this third day of the festival is the Norwegian’s feature film Julie (in 12 chapters) by Joachim Trier. Late Thursday night, American star Matt Damon will hit the red carpet for Tom Mc Carthy’s Stillwater, out of competition.

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