Run time: 101 mins
North African director Mahamat-Saleh Haroun paints a human face on the refugee crisis in this Parisian drama.
Abbas (Eriq Ebouaney) a former teacher, has fled conflict in the Central African Republic with his two young children. Their high hopes of a fresh start in Paris are relentlessly worn down by the grim realities of their situation. Drifting through a succession of cramped, temporary homes and with his application for asylum at the mercy of bureaucrats, Abbas must combat a lack of legal aid and loss of dignity in order to save his family from destitution.
Most of Haroun’s previous work has been set in Chad and concerned with displacement, migration and war. Here, he turns the tables, looking at migration from the perspective of those arriving. The subtlety and power of Haroun’s script allows for some truly terrific central performances, with Ebouaney particularly conveying how dehumanising the position that Abbas occupies is and how it can eat away at a soul’s independence.
A Season In France presents the horror of losing your sense of place, self-worth and a host of other things that make us who we are, warts and all. (Research Chris Coetsee). Don’t think. Just come.