×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Toronto: ‘A Season in France’ Examines Immigrant Issues

A high-school teacher fleeing his war-torn African nation finds refuge in France, only to learn that the life he tries to build there is fraught with fear, uncertainty, and the traumas of the life he left behind.

A Season in France,” the new feature by acclaimed Chadian helmer Mahamat-Saleh Haroun, is a timely portrait of lives scarred by war and migration, set against the backdrop of Europe’s ongoing refugee crisis.

Pic world premieres as part of the Special Presentations program at the Toronto Int’l. Film Festival. It’s the sixth appearance in Toronto for Haroun, who won the Grand Jury Prize in Cannes in 2010 for “A Screaming Man.”

Inspired by the story of a Chadian refugee in France who burned himself alive when his asylum request was rejected, Haroun describes “Season” as an effort to “tell the story of [the] invisible faces” of immigrants who arrive in Europe, hoping to rebuild their lives.

At a time when the refugee crisis has vexed European policy-makers and raised urgent questions about how the world responds to the suffering of millions fleeing war and unrest, the filmmaker describes the situation as “a human tragedy.”

“We can’t chase these people [away],” he says, citing the example of his native Chad, an impoverished nation which has welcomed an estimated 400,000 refugees. “It’s a question of compassion and humanity.”

“Season” tells the story of Abbas, a high-school teacher from the Central African Republic, who is forced to flee his country’s civil war. With his brother and his two young children, he attempts to find asylum in France. But memories of his past life – including a wife who was killed during the war – continue to haunt him, even as new love seems to offer him a chance at a fresh start.

Over the course of a celebrated career, Haroun has poignantly depicted the struggles of his native Chad. “Season” marks the first time he’s lensed a film entirely in France, enabling him to explore his own complicated relationships with both his native and adopted homelands.

“I know very well the reality of refugees looking for asylum,” says the helmer, who emigrated to France from Chad in the 1980s. “Thirty years ago, I was one of them.”

His latest film, he says, is a way “to let people enter the interior lives of asylum-seekers,” adding that if there is “no understanding, [there is] no compassion.”

More Film

  • Danny Glover

    Danny Glover Joins 'Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle' Sequel

    Danny Glover has joined the cast of Sony’s “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” sequel. His role is being kept under wraps, as is the storyline. Glover will star opposite Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart, and Karen Gillan, all of whom are set to return. Awkwafina is in final negotiations for a significant part in [...]

  • DJ Khaled Bad Boys

    DJ Khaled Joins 'Bad Boys' Sequel (EXCLUSIVE)

    DJ Khaled has rounded out the cast of Sony’s upcoming “Bad Boys” sequel “Bad Boys for Life,” joining returning stars Will Smith and Martin Lawrence. Khaled will also join series newcomers Vanessa Hudgens, Alexander Ludwig, Charles Melton, Jacob Scipio, and Paola Nuñez. Joe Pantoliano is on board to return as Captain Howard. Production is currently [...]

  • SAMUEL L. JACKSON in Glass. M.

    M. Night Shyamalan's 'Glass' to Break January's Slow Box Office Streak

    No plot twist here: M. Night Shyamalan’s thriller “Glass” will dominate the domestic box office. As this weekend’s lone wide release, “Glass” looks to be the de facto choice for moviegoers during the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. Now the only question is: how big of an opening can “Glass” pull off? Mediocre reviews don’t [...]

  • Iranian Film Festival NY Review: 'Sheeple'

    Iranian Film Festival New York Review: 'Sheeple'

    The cinema of Iran has often been marked by stylistic qualities of delicacy and restraint. It has found ways to speak loudly with a whisper. But “Sheeple,” the traumatically explosive closing-night selection of 1st Iranian Film Festival New York, amounts to a rather spectacular counterexample. It’s a drama set in the lower depths of society [...]

  • Sundance Film Festival Placeholder

    Sundance Film Festival Launches Talent Forum for Indie Creators

    The Sundance Film Festival is launching a new program to offer industry mentoring to under-represented and indie creators, the festival announced Tuesday. Based out of Park City, Utah’s Kimball Art Center, the program will include focused mentoring for filmmakers, writers, producers, and beyond, as well as keynote events with “Black Panther” director Ryan Coogler and [...]

  • Aisha Tyler

    Aisha Tyler to Host 2019 Directors Guild Awards

    The Directors Guild of America has selected Aisha Tyler to host its 71st annual DGA Awards on Feb. 2 at the Hollywood & Highland Center’s Ray Dolby Ballroom in Los Angeles. “We’re excited to have Aisha on board for the 71st annual DGA Awards,” said DGA president Thomas Schlamme. “She is ideally suited to host [...]

  • Caleb Landry JonesNY Premiere of "Three

    Caleb Landry Jones Joins Ralph Fiennes in 'The Forgiven' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Caleb Landry Jones will co-star with Ralph Fiennes, Rebecca Hall, and Mark Strong in “The Forgiven.” John Michael McDonagh is directing the film, which is an adaptation of the novel by Lawrence Osborne. It deals with the reverberations of a random accident on the lives of an English couple, their friends and local Moroccans who [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content