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Tranquil, violent, intimate and objective, DARESALAM is a powerful film of resonant depth that "brilliantly weaves memory, hope and despair" (San Francisco Weekly) into "a poignant essay on civil war" (LA Weekly). In his "spectacularly photographed" (SF Weekly) feature debut, writer and director Issa Serge Coelo contrasts the simple cycles of African life with the complex issues underneath his native Chad's unending civil revolt.
In a small Central African village, boyhood friends Djimi and Koni have come of age under a post-colonial government that levies crippling taxes and legally robs local farmers of their meager crops. When impulsive Koni savagely attacks a visiting government official, the resulting massacre forces the two friends on a journey that will transform them from boys into men, from farmers into soldiers and from villagers into revolutionaries. "We fight in one world so we can live in another," declares Koni as the two battle shoulder to shoulder against government troops. But while Koni embraces the politics and carnage of their dangerous new guerilla existence, Djimi longs for the simplicity and grace of the village life they've left behind. As the rebels move closer to victory, the two friends move closer to a clash of their own.
Director Coelo "forges strong characters etched by the wind of history" (Variety) using a remarkably assured cast of newcomers. By giving a face and voice to the violent strife tearing apart modern central Africa, DARESALAM conveys the human cost of regional bloodshed with a clarity "so achingly beautiful and sad I watched with tears in my eyes" (LA Weekly).
A Film by Issa Serge Coelo
Chad / 2000 / Color / 105 min / Letterboxed (1.85:1)
In Arabic and French with English subtitles
Directed by Issa Serge Coelo
Written by Issa Serge Coelo, Ismael Ben-Cherrif and Pierre Guillaume
Produced by Pierre Javeaux Cinematography by Jean-Jacques Mrejen
Editing by Catherine Schwartz Original Music by Khalil Chahine
With Haikal Zakaria, Abdoulaye Ahmat, Gerard Essomba, Sidiki Bakaba, Youssouf Djaoro, Garba Issa Malloum, Baba Hassan Fatime, Khalite Deye, Adam Idrissa, Moussa Atim
2000 La Sept ARTE, PIERRE JAVAUX PRODUCTIONS, PARENTHESE FILMS, LE MINISTRE DE LA COMMUNICATION ET DE LA CULTURE DE LA DIRECTION DE LA CINEMATOGRAPHIE DU BURKINA FASO.
Official Selection Berlinale