You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Bye Bye Africa

(French and Chadion Arabic dialogue)

(French and Chadion Arabic dialogue)

The chance to peek inside isolated, strife-torn Chad picques viewer interest in “Bye Bye Africa,” but France-based helmer-writer-star Mahamat-Saleh Haroun’s muddled, aimless mix of nonfiction and dramatic elements makes this first feature tough to stick with. Pic will no doubt travel fest and educational routes as a rare view of this luckless nation; those looking for entertainment value or a promising directorial voice, however, won’t find much reward.

Start has Haroun awakened in Bordeaux by a call informing that his mother has died. Returning to N’Djamena for the first time in 10 years, the expatriate grieves while reconnecting with old friends and musing upon Chad’s sad, war-depleted present. He takes particular note of the collapsed local film industry — his childhood theaters are now mostly shuttered, their viability sucked dry by pirated vidcassettes.

Popular on Variety

Distribution, let alone new production, of indigenous features throughout the continent is depressingly near-extinct. Nonetheless, Haroun goes through the motions of prepping a feature (which sounds just like the one we’re watching), even though funding remains to be found.

Viewers not already schooled in the region’s history and cultures won’t gain much enlightenment here, as draggy, unfocused progress seldom expands much beyond helmer-protag’s rambles around the city, meditating on whether his chosen profession retains any relevance for Chad’s embattled populace.

He encounters an ex-flame (beauteous Aicha Yelena as Isabelle) whom he’d once employed as an actor, an event that led to her public disgrace; he also auditions local would-be thesps in a B&W seg.

But these potentially involving tangents lead nowhere; pic stays as self-absorbed as Haroun himself, whose tepid screen presence dominates. Few high-emotion sequences are too flatly staged and written to break up overall lethargy.

“Bye Bye Africa” winds up in a dramatic limbo, with verite-style lack of visible narrative structure gaining little credence or juice from its staged, presumably real-event-re-enactive execution.

Tech aspects are adequate.

Bye Bye Africa


Production: A Les Productions de la Lanterne presentation. Produced by Claude Gilaizeau. Directed,screenplay by Mahamet-Saleh Haroun.

Crew: Camera (color), Stephane Legoux, Haroun; editor, Sarah Taouss; music, Alhadj Ahmat dit Pecos, Issa Bongo, Ringo Efoua-Ela; sound, Ousmane Bougoudi. Reviewed at San Francisco Film Festival, May 1, 2000. Running time: 86 MIN.

With: With: Mahamet-Saleh Haroun, Garba Issa, Aicha Yelena, Mahamat-Saleh Abakar.

More Film

  • Spongebob Movie Trailer

    Watch the 'SpongeBob' Movie Super Bowl TV Spot (EXCLUSIVE)

    Paramount gave an early look at its “The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run” tv spot that will debut ahead of the Super Bowl. Since even pre-game commercials are expensive, the new clip gives SpongeBob just 26 seconds to describe everything that happens in his new film. “There’s fast cars, flashbacks, Snoop Dogg, robots, a [...]

  • Gabrielle Carteris SAG AFRA PRESIDENT

    SAG-AFTRA Unveils Guidelines for Intimacy Coordinators

    SAG-AFTRA has unveiled the guidelines for intimacy coordinators who are on sets when union members’ work involves nudity and simulated sex. The union released “Standards and Protocols for the Use of Intimacy Coordinators” on Wednesday, six months after announcing that it would standardize the guidelines for such scenes. “SAG-AFTRA believes that implementation of these standards [...]

  • Scandinavia's NENT Group Exits Non-Scripted, Focuses

    Scandinavia's NENT Group Pulls Plug on Non-Scripted, Sets Sights on Drama and Film

    Nordic Entertainment Group (NENT Group), one of Scandinavia’s largest media groups, is set to pull out of non-scripted content, and focus on scripted drama and film production and distribution. The company is looking to bring a minority equity partner on board to bolster its scripted drama production business. As part of the reorg, NENT Group [...]

  • Goteborg Film Festival The Gynecological Cinema

    Anna Odell Puts Men in a Gynaecological Chair

    After William Castle’s “Percepto!” or John Waters’ “Odorama,” it seems like the time has come for Swedish provocateur Anna Odell’s “The Gynaecological Cinema Chair” – an interactive experience created specially for this year’s Göteborg Film Festival. A concept that’s more than just an attention-grabbing gimmick, however, as the director behind 2013’s “The Reunion” was quick [...]

  • The-Intruder

    Watch the Trailer from Just Announced Berlin Competition Entry ‘The Intruder’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    MADRID  —  Just minutes after the Berlinale confirmed on Wednesday its selection in main competition, the pedigree producers of Argentine Natalia Meta’s “The Intruder” (“El Prófugo”) have dropped a first teaser-trailer for what has been described as a “pyscho-sexual fantastic thriller.” They have also confirmed more details of one of the buzziest new titles from [...]

  • Roman Polanski’s ‘An Officer and a

    Roman Polanski’s ‘An Officer and a Spy’ Leads Cesar Awards Nominations

    Roman Polanski’s “An Officer and a Spy” is leading the race for the Cesar Awards, France’s top film honors, with 12 nominations, followed by Ladj Ly’s Oscar-nominated “Les Miserables.” “An Officer and a Spy” earned nominations for best film, director, actor (Jean Dujardin), cinematography, set design, costume and music, among others. Although he’s been at [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content