Coming to theatres this Thursday, September 21:
HISSEIN HABRE, A CHADIAN TRAGEDY
Toronto, IDFA, New York, London, Dubai, CPH:DOX, Hong Kong
Victims of the African dictator relate the personal impact of his crimes against the people of Chad.
Haroun briefly provides much-needed context for Western audiences unfamiliar with Habré, a brutal dictator who ruled Chad between 1982 and 1990. While Haroun lived in exile during this period, others weren’t so fortunate, with the regime responsible for the deaths of approximately 40,000 political prisoners and the torture of hundreds of thousands more. Other than linking Habré’s power to relationships with the US, France, and several other players, the filmmaker foregoes further political history to instead give voice to the dictator’s many victims, using as interlocutor a former prisoner, Clément Abaïfouta, chairman of the Association of the Victims of the Crimes of the Hissein Habré Regime. Using a fairly standard survey approach, the film benefits more from its topicality – emerging on the festival circuit just as Habré was found guilty of crimes against humanity by a court in his home-in-exile, Senegal – than from any particularly special craft, as it allows the viewer to bear witness to its subjects’ difficult testimony.