12/18/2017  
Take Me To The River on Blu-ray & DVD Feb 5Phantom From 10,000 Leagues (1956) on Blu-ray & DVD Jan 5Condemned on DVD & Blu-ray Jan 5Broad City: Season 2 on DVD Jan 5McHale's Navy: The Complete Series on DVD No 17Return to Sender on Blu-ray & DVD Sep 29The Phantom of the Opera with Lon Chaney Blu-ray & DVD Oct 13

follow us on twitter

dOc on facebook

NE News Editor

Jennifer Esposito Is Your Newest NCIS Agent in Season 1...
Critics Are Split on Ghostbusters Reboot ...
'Respect is key': The Game, Snoop Dogg lead march to LA...
Kristen Stewart's Sheer Dress At 'Equals' Premiere -- S...
"A Slow Slipping Away"-- Kris Kristofferson's Long-Undi...
Fox News' Roger Ailes Sued for Sexual Harassment by Ous...
Garrison Keillor Retires from 'Prairie Home Companion' ...
Jennifer Aniston is Pregnant: Star Steps Out in Loose D...
Hiddleswift Is One Big Song Promotion -- A Theory...
Elvis Presley's daughter Lisa Marie Presley files for ...





Microsoft Store

Share: email   Print      Technorati.gif   StumbleUpon.gif   MySpace   digg.gif delicious.gif   google.gif   magnolia.gif   facebook.gif
Permalink: Permalink.gif



Buy from Amazon

Buy from Amazon.com

Home Vision Entertainment presents
Abouna (2002)

"Nothing's more important than freedom." 
- Tahir (Ahidja Mahamat Moussa)

Review By: Jon Danziger  
Published: September 02, 2005

Director: Mahamat-Saleh Haroun

MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Run Time: 01h:24m:12s
Release Date: May 17, 2005
UPC: 037429206027
Genre: foreign


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
A- B+A-A- B-

DVD Review

This is a delicate, compassionately told movie, one which in less capable hands might spill over into the realm of the precious or the patronizing. But director Mahamat-Saleh Haroun tells a spare story in a restrained style, and gets his audience to empathize with his characters; in the process, we learn more about life in Chad, simply incidentally, than from any Western news outlet, which makes time for life in Africa only in instances of extreme violence, weather or slaughter.

The story focuses on two brothers: Amine, the younger one, has terrible asthma; Tahir, the older one, at 15 is on the cusp of manhood, an issue further complicated by the recent departure of their father. The boys hold out hope that the father is to return; but the looks on their faces, and the behavior of their mother, Achta, communicate to us that this nuclear family is never to be reunited again. The boys set out on a quest to find him, taking them to the Chad/Cameroon border; he never turns up, but they do unearth some of his secrets.

Soon the unruliness of the boys turns to petty criminality—they steal a reel of film from the local movie theater—and they're too much to handle: Achta reluctantly but necessarily takes her boys to a nearby Koran school, part orphanage, part juvie. Her own despair and decline is even more marked than those of her sons; the fact that we never see the family together only makes the sense of loss and deprivation that much more pungent and universal for us.

This is no mere travelogue, but it is filled with fascinations about the lives of those in such a rural African community; the poverty isn't desperate, and sometimes there's even running water. Still, many of those seen here have a deadness in their eyes, the look of hopelessness that we know won't be redeemed any time soon, and certainly not before the movie is over.

Tahir and Amine chafe at the constraints of the Koran school, and plan a jailbreak; the story takes a shattering turn (which I will not disclose here), but it makes the last twenty minutes of the picture almost an afterthought. Comparisons with other films are inevitable, and this one holds its own creditably; it may put you in mind particularly of the great Pather Panchali, putting Haroun in rarified company indeed. It's a heartbreaking movie, in lots of ways, but demonstrates enough artistry to leave you with almost as much hope as despair. 

Rating for Style: A-
Rating for Substance: B+

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: Strong transfer, with a steady palette and little visual interference.

Image Transfer Grade: A-

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Chad Arabicyes
Dolby Digital
5.1
Chad Arabicyes


Audio Transfer Review: Smooth sailing here, too, though unless your Arabic is especially well polished, you'll probably be reading along with the subtitles.

Audio Transfer Grade: A-

 

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 16 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
1 Documentaries
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extra Extras:
  1. two short films by Mahamat-Saleh Haroun
  2. accompanying booklet with an essay by Phil Hall
Extras Review: In an accompanying interview (22m:40s), director Mahamat-Saleh Haroun discusses his childhood and education, and provides some useful cultural context for his feature. Two short films, also on the disc, give a sense of the evolution of his style—Goï Goï (14m:40s) works on the same canvas, though it's more lighthearted; B400 (03m:03s) is set in Paris, and demonstrates Haroun's affinity for and empathy with children. In an essay that comes along with the DVD, Phil Hall goes all over-the-top fanboy on us, calling this, among other things, "a perfect film," when, really, there's no such thing.

Extras Grade: B-

 

Final Comments

A heartfelt and memorable story from a part of the world that doesn't often make it up on the movie screen.

 


Back to top

Search 10,000+ titles:

or Advanced Search

DVD REVIEW ARCHIVE


Get FREE Shipping on all orders at TimeLife.com! - 120x90

 



Microsoft Store

Keywords

television, jennifer esposito, blue bloods, ncis, mark harmon. duane henry, wilmer valderrama, michael weatherly, bull, movie, ghostbusters, comedy, chris helmsworth, melissa mcarthy, kristen wiig, celebrity, rap, game, shoop dogg, jayceon terrell taylor, alton sterling, kristen stewart, equals, jonathan simkhal, nicholas hoult, music, kris kristofferson, country music hall of fame, alzheimers, lyme disease, fox news, gretchen carlson, fox and friends, steve doocy, roger ailes, the real story with gretchen carlson, radio, garrison keillor, a prairie home companion, jennifer anniston, baby bump, justin theroux, taylor swift, tom hiddleston, calvin harris, lisa marie presley, michael lockwood, riley and benjamin keough, danny keough, michael jackson, nicolas cage, tom affleck, boston fan, bill simmons, hbo show, any given wednesday, tom brady, deflategate, hamilton, lin-manuel mianda, periscope, heart tweet machine, hamilton mixtape, cable, hbo, curb your enthusiasm, larry david, bernie sanders, saturday night live, maya and marty, christina grimmie, murdered, plaza live, before you exit, marcus grimmie, nashville, cmt, president brian phillips, the tonight show, jimmy fallon, president obama, the roots, hillary clinton, tim mcgraw, faith hill, maggie mcgraw, humble and kind, ellen degeneres show, titi pierce, coldwell banker robbins & free realty, hairspray live!, tracy turnblad, york theatre company, john waters, jennifer hudson, harvey fierstein, martin short, derek hough, j.k. rowling, harry potter and the cursed child, noma dumezweni, emma watson, judd apatow, paul freig, melissa mccarthy, romance, history channel, roots, remake, anika noni rose, t.i., malachi kirby, josh duhamel, transformers, fergie, black eyed peas, axl, double dutchess, abc, music city, grand ole opry, chip esten, lennon stella, the voice, alisan porterm, christina aguilera, ceelo green, ariana grande, sia, the little big town, 2016 billboard music awards, pink, just like fire, pamela neal, warrior princess, send my love (to your new lover), billboard music awards, adele, patrick daughters, bryan cranston, lbj, all the way, melissa leo, frank langella, todd weeks, hard sell, kristin chenoweth, wicked

On Facebook!
digitallyOBSESSED!
digitallyOBSESSED!
Promote Your Page Too

Visit:

Zarabesque.com

Original Magic Dress.com

Susti Heaven

Become a Reviewer | Search | Review Vault | Reviewers
Readers | Webmasters | Privacy | Contact
Microsoft Store