‘Lingui, The Sacred Bonds.’ The film brought to the big screen by Chadian writer-director Mahamet-Saleh Haroun is making waves at the Cannes Film Festival — where it is competing for positive critiques within its screening.
The project which explores the journey of Amina — a single mother outcast by a patriarchal society for being unwed, pays tribute to the marginalised women of similar experiences in Chad.
Haroun is quite happy to see the film being lauded — especially after having to navigate the impact of the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic on the global film industry.
“It’s really a pleasure to be here to find that people, after the screening, were so touched by this story. So I’m just like on a small cloud.”
The actress behind the film’s main protagonist Achouackh Abakar Souleyman is one of few — if any, female actors in Chad and is also blazing a trail in the career path both for herself and her compatriots.
She recognizes the significance of her role in this project.
“I am the first one that this movie already helped because I smoke in the movie and I smoke in real life but I always hide it. And I’m like 39 (laughs).
“So now just showing, I’m not saying every woman should smoke but it’s important that you can at some point be yourself to do better and good in your life. And I think that’s what it’s going to bring, you know, for people to know you can be yourself and it’s okay if it’s not perfect.”
She further explores the depth of the experiences that the character she portrays in the film lives — and just how many women both in Chad and worldwide can relate to and from them.
“This situation of a single mother, and all this, it happens everywhere in the world. In Chad the difference is when you are not married and you get pregnant, it’s forbidden, you can’t even talk about it and this is how Amina was rejected. If it happens to you, this is what happens to you,” explains Souleymane.
“And then having her daughter, who gets pregnant also, she knows what she went through. and the decision (to have an abortion) was taken at first by her daughter but then (Amina) understands, how her life will be.
“And this is, that part of the movie, this is what I liked about Amina because you have this strong woman that you just take a decision and you go for it.”
In the hopes of sparking introspective dialogue among audiences within Chadian society, Haroun plans to show the movie to women in his homeland towards their self-empowerment.
“I would like to order, with Achouackh and Rihane, a screening only for women, you know. And I think they will feel themselves a little bit like free to just talk about intimate problems.
“Because if not, I mean, the tradition doesn’t let them talk about intimate problems if I am there. So we will first just liberate the words with (gestures to Achouackh) and she knows how to talk with them. And we will organize only screenings for women first.”
The screening of the already well-received ‘Lingui, The Sacred Bonds’ will continue at the Cannes Film festival which will run till July 17.