An African 'western'

For his third film, director Mahamat Saleh Haroun uses the brutalised society and scarred landscape of post-war Chad to tell a story with the simplicity of a modern day Western. The radio announcement of a war criminal amnesty is the trigger for teenager Atim to be instructed by his blind grandfather to go and kill his father’s murderer, Nassara, a baker from the city of N’djamena.

But the war criminal has suffered too, he has to use a voice-box to speak as his throat has been cut and is attempting to lead an honest life. The impassive Atim has to overcome his resistance to violence to shoot Nassara.

With little dialogue, natural light throughout and only one prop - a revolver, Daratt is pared-back film making at its most effective. It’s also refreshing to see a film about Africa which does not involve a benevolent white man helping the natives.

Gordon Cairns

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