Bye Bye Africa is a kind of mock documentary about director Haroun returning to his home country of Chad after his mother's death to reunite with his family and to try to make a movie. The film starts off being a prodigal son story, with Haroun taken to task for abandoning his family and his country by living in Europe. However, that subject is quickly dropped and the film becomes a self-referential look at trying to get a movie made in Chad in the context of film being a dying art form due to lack of funds and resources. Haroun is excessively indulgent in his voice-over narration, and manages to come across as quite sleazy in his filmed romantic exploits, which seem quite out of place here. Most of the conversations about life in Chad and the nature of cinema there have an unnatural scripted quality to them, despite the attempt to make the meetings look spontaneous. Despite all this, the film does raise some interesting points about the difficulties in sustaining an artistic culture in a country stuck in economic and military crisis, and how that contributes to the continued under-representation of voices from the developing world.
Published Sep 01, 2000