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Slideshow

Mahamat-Saleh Haroun’s
LINGUI, THE SACRED BONDS

Opens Friday, February 4

In this timely, cathartic drama, Chadian filmmaker Mahamat-Saleh Haroun (A SCREAMING MAN) elevates the saying “It takes a village” to a profound and even sacred necessity. When her 15-year-old daughter becomes pregnant, a single mother’s shame and conflict swiftly transform into fierce maternal determination. The pair’s harrowing quest to secure an abortion potently expands to a web of resilient women (here lingui refers to collective resistance in the face of catastrophic odds) as Haroun melds sober reality with gorgeous visual storytelling. This superb film infuses both thought and feeling into a subject that our own nation continues to struggle with 50 years after abortion was declared legal by the Supreme Court.

2021    87 MINS.    Chad/France/Germany/Belgium    IN FRENCH WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES    MUBI

Reviews

“This is one of Haroun’s richest pictorial works, and it’s a great pleasure to see his elegant, richly colored compositions in the service of a fully feminist film.”
– Amy Taubin, Artforum

“A fairly simple story that the legendary filmmaker Mahamat-Saleh Haroun (A SCREAMING MAN) turns into a moral parable, a cri de coeur and a formalist wonder; the use of composition, color and pacing he employs here is virtually peerless. Impressive. My favorite movie of the Toronto Film Festival.”
– David Fear, Rolling Stone

“A blistering attack on patriarchy. A bracing work. The world it shows us, etched in fully felt performances and beautifully hued compositions, feels vividly, sometimes overwhelmingly present.”
– Justin Chang, The Los Angeles Times

“Dazzling images. Ravishingly shot. A quietly forceful new film. Shooting on the vibrant, ochre-dusted streets of Chad’s capital, the filmmaker seems renewed, alive to local texture, sound and color (with) lensing as rich and saturated as overdyed linen. (The) sound design is an intricate symphony… (but) for all its surface beauty LINGUI doesn’t trade in empty pictorialism… Exquisitely composed, sensitively lit closeups of the female leads linger indelibly… The blazing hues and hyperactive patterns of the women’s clothing don’t merely serve as ornamental contrast, but signify resurgent life and feeling. Even a kindly midwife’s quarters are painted in vast, electric expanses of cyan and ultramarine.”
– Guy Lodge, Variety

“Riveting.This soft hammer of a social drama is less concerned with the cruelties of Chad’s politics than it is with how people help each other to endure them together. The entrancing space that (the film) notches between personal circumstance and elemental strife mirrors the balance Haroun strikes between his Spartan approach to narrative and newfound visual command. Surprisingly cathartic.”
– David Ehrlich, IndieWire

Trailer

Film Forum