Mahamat-Saleh Haroun, director of “Lingui, les ties sacrés”: “I am fighting to bring Africa back to the center of humanity”

Lingui, the sacred bonds follows two Chadian women, Amina (Achouackh Abakar) and her daughter, Maria (Rihane Khalil Alio), who wants to perform voluntary termination of pregnancy in a country where the law prohibits it and religious authorities condemn it. Selected in official competition at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival, this work of fiction is released in French theaters on December 8. With this ninth feature film, the Franco-Chadian filmmaker Mahamat-Saleh Haroun tackles a taboo subject in several African countries and translates into images “An underground feminism”.

Read also Article reserved for our subscribers “Lingui, les ties sacrés”: in Chad, a precious female solidarity

Does “Lingui, les ties sacrés” draw its material from real events?

In recent years, in Chad, there have been recurring miscellaneous facts relating to newborns found suffocated in landfills or latrines. A similar story that happened in Abéché, my hometown, shocked me a lot when I was a child. Decades later, when I discovered these news items, I told myself that the disaster was continuing. So I started an investigation and I went to ask questions of women, but also of my brother, who is a doctor. It’s a phenomenon that continues to explode in the face of Chadian society, so I said to myself that we had to talk about it.

Read also In sub-Saharan Africa, women’s rights to freely dispose of their bodies are “threatened”

What does it mean to tackle abortion, a taboo subject in Chadian society, in terms of writing and directing?

This implies redoubling moral vigilance: what to show and what not to show? What to say or not to say? How to tell the story from the point of view of the daughter or from the point of view of the mother, both isolated women? We had to avoid turning it into a suspenseful story, so I preferred to work in ellipses and give more flesh to this reality.

How did you build the relationship between Amina, who is a daughter-in-law, and her daughter, Maria, who refuses to be a mother following an unwanted relationship?

I wanted the girl to be in a form of rejection of her mother’s fate. In a way, Maria wants to have an abortion so as not to become like Amina. The latter tries to give her daughter all the means to become someone else, to get out of determinism. Amina manufactures stoves [réchauds faits de fils de fer récupérés dans des vieux pneus], a very physical job mainly carried out by men in Chad. I imagined a character who tries to occupy a double function: that of the father and that of the mother. She reacts first as the head of the family. Supporting her daughter in the process of voluntary termination of pregnancy poses a problem for her in the face of the weight of patriarchy, religion, the eyes of others … I wanted to follow the path of the mother who realizes that she must save his daughter, beyond any moral question.

You have 36.95% of this article left to read. The rest is for subscribers only.

We would love to say thanks to the author of this article for this awesome web content

Mahamat-Saleh Haroun, director of “Lingui, les ties sacrés”: “I am fighting to bring Africa back to the center of humanity”

First Media Marketing