Things I noted about Abouna:

I will say that I did not see Amine’s death coming until Tahir started reading the story of the boa constrictor to him. My interpretation of the story, given the circumstances, was that the boa was Amine’s asthma, and Amine was the boa’s prey. Amine’s life is cut rather suddenly by asthma, just like how the boa swallows its prey quickly and digests it later, rather than killing it slowly by chewing it first and digesting later. In addition, Amine says that the story is significant to him because he always falls asleep before the end, an observation that is a bit analogous to the fact that the boa swallows its prey without chewing (an essential end to the first part of the digestive process in many animals.)

I found some of the visual cues that movie gave us for significant events in the movie rather interesting:

  • The tazbi hanging in the car (00:33:59) in which they traveled probably signified some relation to religion in the events that we were about to see. Indeed, we see that Amine and Tahir go to a qu’ranic school which their mom expects will turn them into  “good people.” (00:35:34)
  • The kids lined up against the wall like criminals/suspects lined up for identification (00:34:51).  We see that one of the kids (in the pink/peach shirt) eventually has an altercation with Amine at the pond (and is also a suspect when Amine’s inhaler goes missing (01:04:25))
  • The father’s “appearance” in the movie (watched in the cinema) almost makes us believe that he is actually there with Amine, especially when he leans forward and calls out to “mes enfants” (00:25:27) after Amine calls out to him.
  • The closeup on the mute girl as the boys and their mom arrive at the school (00:34:41). We know she will be significant in the movie:  she indeed appears again while Tahir taking a shower (00:43:00); and eventually becomes his love interest.

A few extra (minor) things:

  • I liked the fact that the boys (and their friends) realize that their dad is missing when he does not show up to referee their soccer match. It brings their disappointment down to a very credible, somewhat personal, level. (and also shows how important football is in Chad (and Africa in general)!!!)
  • I was happy the film got its geography right. At the beginning, we see the father walking across a desert (presumably the Sahara, which is north of Chad), and the picture their uncle brings to them is of Tangier, which is in Morocco (Morocco is north of the Sahara, so the movie didn’t screw up the fact that Amine’s dad was indeed heading north, even though it’s a very small, almost dismissible, part of the story.     🙂

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