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Review: A season in France (2017)

Directed by: | 97 minutes | | Actors: Eriq Ebouaney, , , , Bibi Tanga, , Régine Conas, , Stéphane Malassenet, , , , , Tom Haroun, , ,

Mahamat-Saleh Haroun has lived in France since 1982, but his heart and soul have remained in his native Chad all these years. Most of the seven films he has made so far are set in Africa. Haroun incorporated his own experiences – he fled his country because of the civil that tore Chad apart for years – into his multi-award-winning feature films and translated them into the present. His most famous films are ‘Daratt’ 92006), ‘Un homme qui crie’ (2010) and ‘Grisgris’ (2013). Haroun is also close to his heart ‘Une saison en France’ (2017). The filmmaker himself was lucky enough to receive a residence permit years ago and was able to settle in France. With his latest , he underlines once again that not everyone is allowed that happiness and that there are many refugees – ordinary people who want to make something of their life in a new homeland – who are insecure for months on end. If you don’t know if you can stay somewhere, what’s the point of making a living?

Abbass (Eriq Ebouaney) has fled the poverty-stricken Central African Republic after a civil war broke out. His wife died in the battle, but Abbass doesn’t have much time to cope with her passing away; he must be there for his two children Yacine (Ibrahim Burama Darboe) and Asma (Aalayna Lys). When we get to know them, it hardly seems like a cloud in the sky. Okay, Abbass has big dreams about his late wife, but he has a job, his kids go to school and they live in a nice apartment. However, appearances are deceptive: while Abbass was a respected university teacher of French in Africa, here he is the low-paid assistant of a market trader. And that house is only temporary. Abbass keeps his back straight and continues, but if his application for a residence permit is denied, and he is also evicted from his apartment, it is difficult for him to maintain his dignity. This also applies to his good friend Etienne (Bibi Tanga), who made the crossing to Europe with Abbass and his . He looks well-groomed, like a man who commands respect, but it is a facade he desperately tries to keep up. He wears the same suit every day, freshens up in a pool shower every day, and sleeps in a shack under a bridge. Both men do not feel really welcome in France. Their patience, self-esteem, and self-esteem are severely tested. How much uncertainty can a person handle? who made the crossing to Europe with Abbass and his family. He looks well-groomed, like a man who commands respect, but it is a facade he desperately tries to keep up. He wears the same suit every day, freshens up in a pool shower every day, and sleeps in a shack under a bridge. Both men do not feel really welcome in France. Their patience, self-esteem, and self-esteem are severely tested. How much uncertainty can a person handle? who made the crossing to Europe with Abbass and his family. He looks well-groomed, like a man who commands respect, but it is a facade he desperately tries to keep up. He wears the same suit every day, freshens up in a pool shower every day, and sleeps in a shack under a bridge. Both men do not feel really welcome in France. Their patience, self-esteem, and self-esteem are severely tested. How much uncertainty can a person handle? self-esteem and self-esteem are seriously tested. How much uncertainty can a person handle? self-esteem and self-esteem are seriously tested. How much uncertainty can a person handle?

Mahamat Saleh Haroun is a humble filmmaker. Do not expect any spectacle, exuberant emotions or heavy melodrama in ‘Une saison en France’. Instead, Haroun reluctantly observes how Abbass and Haroun collapse bit by bit due to the degrading conditions in which they have to live. There are glints of hope, in the form of a blossoming love between Abbass and the Franco-Polish Carole (Sandrine Bonnaire). When he is with her, he is happy for a while. A beautiful scene is the one in which they celebrate Carole’s birthday together with Yacine and Asma. With a small cake, a children’s drawing and a dance in the living room. However simple it may be, it expresses happiness. For a moment Abbass does not think about his residency status, his fatigue, and his worries. Leading actor Eriq Ebouaney deserves praise for his acting; with few words he manages to convey an enormous range of emotions. ‘Une saison en France’ is a small drama with integrity that reveals unbearable suffering. Because for many refugees this is the order of the day. On the one hand, the filmmaker Haroun notes that he keeps his film so modest, on the other hand he could have done more to give his message even more impact.

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