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.

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

  • Whoopi Goldberg addresses the crowd while

    Inside World Pride's Opening Ceremony: An LGBTQ Celebration With a Tinge of Politics

    World Pride officially kicked off on Wednesday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. About 8,000 people packed into the arena for a three-hour show that began with Cyndi Lauper singing her hit “True Colors.” The performance ended with a gaggle of dancing drag queens who pranced alongside Lauper as she turned the train of [...]

  • Amy Adams (left) as Lynne Cheney

    Film News Roundup: Makeup Artists and Hair Stylists Guild Sets Awards Show for Jan. 11

    In today’s film news roundup, the 2020 awards season schedule gets finalized; AFM will cover immersive content; “Murderous Trance” and “7 Days to Vegas” get acquired; and Kate Katzman has been added to “The Comeback Trail.” AWARDS DATE The Makeup Artists & Hair Stylists Guild has set Jan. 11 as the date for its seventh [...]

  • Disney Pandora World Of Avatar, Lake

    The Piano Guys Play 'Avatar' Theme in Disney World (Watch)

    The YouTube sensation The Piano Guys have taken a trip to the world of Pandora for a performance of the theme to “Avatar.” Shot in the bioluminescent floating forest in Disney World, cellist Steven Sharp Nelson and pianist Jon Schmidt put their spin on the score to James Cameron’s 2009 blockbuster. The video immerses the [...]

  • Editorial use only. No book cover

    Billy Drago, 'Untouchables' Star, Dies at 73

    Billy Drago, who often played harming but chilling gangster roles and appeared in Brian De Palma’s “The Untouchables” and Clint Eastwood’s “Pale Rider,” died Monday in Los Angeles of complications from a stroke. He was 73. The character actor played Al Capone’s henchman Frank Nitti in 1987’s “The Untouchables.” On TV series “Charmed,” he put [...]

  • Grant Sputore

    'I Am Mother' Director Tackles Margot Robbie-Produced Thriller 'Augmented'

    Warner Bros. has hired “I Am Mother” director Grant Sputore to helm the science-fiction thriller “Augmented” which Margot Robbie is producing, Variety has learned exclusively. Michael Lloyd Green is rewriting an original script by Mark Townend. Denise Di Novi and Tom Ackerley are also producing. Production companies are Robbie’s LuckyChap and Di Novi’s eponymous Di [...]

  • Miley Cyrus

    Miley Cyrus Teases 'Charlie's Angels' Collaboration with Ariana Grande and Lana Del Rey

    Three of the biggest female pop stars have joined forces in a new song for the Elizabeth Banks-directed reboot of “Charlie’s Angels.” In a tweet posted Wednesday, Miley Cyrus hinted at a collaboration between herself, Lana Del Rey, and Ariana Grande in the forthcoming film. Alongside a 14-second teaser, originally posted by Sony Pictures, the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content