“This view of the world, from this country where there aren’t filmmakers, is very important I think. So, I do it through solidarity and because I feel a responsibility not to leave this country invisible.”– Mahamat-Saleh Haroun, on his responsibility as a Chadian filmmaker.
It was with extreme delight that I found Daratt, or Dry Season (Haroun, 2006), a film born of conscience and forged by the highest level of artistic skill and patience. I think about the last line of this film on a regular basis; and the worried, tormented brow of our protagonist Atim lives in my brain.
Many of us may be drawn to film as an escape, some purely for entertainment, while others of us find it a necessary rigorous challenge to our ideas of the world and ourselves. I can find benefits to any of those outlooks on any given day. However, I can’t be drawn into any artistic experience simply as an exercise or via pedantic instruction.
Haroun has managed, because he is such an amazing craftsman and artist, to create something that embodies and transcends its geographical boundaries and specific story. There is something for every filmgoer, wherever they are, whatever their own personal experience. Daratt will make you think and feel and grieve and smile. It is through the weight of responsibility that Atim bears, the certainty of his grandfather, the coiled snake living inside Nassara, and the innocence of Aicha that we experience the past, present, and future of Chad. If you seek this film out, you will not regret the journey or the destination.
Since discussing this film, we’ve talked about other films this might be paired with, following the same themes or counterpoints to those themes. What would you pair it with for a double feature?
What you’ll find in this episode: a look into the atrocities of the Chadian civil wars, a debate on love or duty, and why Haroun speaks to Cole.
Links and Recommendations:
Check out Daratt on IMDB.
Ericca’s further viewing pick of La Pirogue.
Cole’s further viewing pick of A Screaming Man.
The distributor of the film and other films from Africa and the African diaspora, Artmattan Productions.
An interview with director Mahamat-Saleh Haroun.
The home page of the African Diaspora International Film Festival.