Theatrical Release Date: 25 Nov 2004
Home Ent. Release Date: 27 Jul 2003
Tender, life affirming and optimistic, Abouna tells the story of 15-year old Tahir and his 8-yeard old brother Amine who wake up one morning to learn that their father has left the house – the reason is a complete mystery to them. They are particularly upset as he was meant to referee an important football match between the neighbourhood kids that very day. They set out to find him, wandering the streets of the city. After checking all the usual places that he would frequent, the boys grow despondent and abandon their search. Unwilling to concentrate on schoolwork, they wander town aimlessly during the day, seeking refuge in cinemas by night. One evening they think that they see their father onscreen, and determine to steal the reels. This unfortunately leads to their arrest. Their beleaguered mother sends them away from the city to Koranic school. Here they are exposed to the central mysteries of life – both death and love. Directed by Mahamat-Saleh Haroun, whose first feature Bye Bye Africa received two awards at the Venice Film Festival, Abouna stars Ahidjo Mahamat Moussa, Hamza Moctar and Zara Haroun. During it’s UK release by ICA Projects the film achieved much critical acclaim and in 2003 won the Firebird Award at the Hong Kong International Film Festival. The film has been scored by the Malian master musician Ali Farka Tore, a major force in the current World Music explosion. Malian music has gained added cultural impetus in the UK after being championed by Damon Albarn of Blur on his album ‘Mali Music’.