Chad-born director Issa Serge Coelo makes a more than respectable feature debut with “Daresalam,” a tale of friendship fractured by politics in the fictitious North African country of the title. Technically well-honed outing — Coelo, who trained in Paris, has also worked as a d.p. — is let down by an occasionally didactic script but otherwise forges strong characters etched by the winds of history. This is ideal fare for cable and Eurowebs.
Djimi (Haikail Zakaria) and Koni (Abdoulaye Ahmat) are childhood friends in a small village squeezed by government taxes. Following a revolt that leads to most of the villagers being massacred, both men sign up with the rebel forces, from which Koni later leaves to join a splinter group. Djimi turns out to be the more idealistic of the pair, and Koni the more pragmatic. Smoothly edited, and mellifluously scored, pic features some striking use of landscape and desert, and even manages to mount convincing battle sequences on a slim budget. Djimi’s political education is handled rather awkwardly in a couple of dialogue sequences, but acting generally is fine. Film was shot in Chad a year ago.