Directed by Mahamat-Saleh Haroun, the Chadian film “Lingui, les ties sacrés” offers a committed and necessary fable about a mother and her daughter facing an unwanted pregnancy.
He is the first Chadian director of the history of cinema. With Lingui, les ties sacrés, Mahamat-Saleh Haroun signs an important work, presented in official competition at the 74th Cannes Film Festival. The story follows a young girl, Maria, who wishes to have an abortion in the greatest secrecy. In a society where patriarchal power crushes women, the heroine relies on Amina, her mother, to preserve her freedom.
At the heart of this film is the unconditional love that unites the two main characters. It is this power that gives the film its name: “lingui”, A Chadian word which designates the“link” in French. “This term means solidarity, mutual aid, so as not to let the other collapse, specifies the director in the press kit. I can only exist because the other exists, that’s the lingui, a sacred bond. ”
Excluded by her high school, the medical profession and the people of her neighborhood because of her pregnancy, Maria finds herself isolated. With her mother, she must wage a war in silence, out of sight. It is the first time that the filmmaker has portrayed female characters. “It had been a while since I wanted to paint a portrait of a Chadian woman such as I know., he explains. These are single, widowed or divorced women who are raising children on their own. Often frowned upon by society, they manage to get by. ”
In Chad, abortion is still prohibited, despite the initiative of a draft family code which provided for helping pregnant women. However, it has never been voted. Despite the ban, doctors are helping those who need it. It is this outlaw and courageous solidarity that inspired the director for his film.
To play the two main characters, Mahamat-Saleh Haroun surrounds himself with Rihane Khalil Alio, the young girl, and Achouackh Abakar, in the role of the mother. “In Chad, there are hardly any professional actors, apart from those who worked with me and whom I now consider to be professionals., he says. ” Achouackh Abakar already appears in Grigris, one of the director’s previous films. “She is a mother herself and could project herself into Amina’s problematic”, He continues. As for Rihane Khalil Alio, the director was won over by the evidence: “As soon as I met her I felt a strange closeness to her. ”
In a context where unwanted pregnancies are on the rise in Chad, special projections of Lingui, the sacred bonds are organized in the country for all women who wish to see it. “There are more and more news items where we discover abandoned newborns, often dead, it’s horrible. All this because of the prohibitions and the shame of carrying a so-called ‘illegitimate’ child”.
Lingui, the sacred bonds, at the cinema on December 8, 2021.