Monday, August 06, 2007

Dry Season (Mahamat-Saleh Haroun, 2006)

***
Chad/France/Belgium/Austria

This parched, austere parable detailing a 16-year-old's frustrated vendetta on his father's killer is a particularly frustrating experience in that it has about as many significant strengths as it does weaknesses. Chadian writer-director Mahamat-Saleh develops his observations regarding the legacy of Chad's 40-year civil war (as well as, essentially, any civil war in general) with exemplary subtlety and consideration, building up to a moving finale. At the same time however, Haroun shows the tendency of a worrying amount of contemporary film festival staples in that he mistakes oppressive minimalism, a dearth of dialogue and a glacial pace for irreproachably artful, evocative naturalism.

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