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A Rather Un-French French Film

Civil war between Muslims and Christians in a landlocked African country probably isn't the first subject that comes to mind when you hear the term French film. But Alliance Française South Florida has developed a powerful reputation for its adventurous French film series in the tricounty area, and Monday's screening at the Mandel Public Library is no exception. A Screaming Man, from 2010, is set in the Republic of Chad during that small nation's actual civil war. Upset that his 20-year-old son has taken his beloved job away from him, an aging pool attendant at an upscale hotel enlists his boy in the army. Back at his post cleaning rich people's towels, he spends the rest of the film dealing with the guilt of his decision, drifting through an arid, stifling police state like a sullen automaton. The man alternately earns our pity, scorn, and empathy as he guides the narrative toward a haunting conclusion. Though the setting is specific, the story's political climate of murky upheaval in a Muslim country could apply to any number of "Arab Spring" uprisings, and the obsession with work, the job insecurity, and the rampant income inequality are positively American. The movie screens at 6:30 p.m. Monday at the Mandel Public Library, 411 Clematis St. in West Palm Beach. Admission is free. Call 561-868-7701, or visit mycitylibrary.org.
Mon., Aug. 27, 6:30 p.m., 2012
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John P. Thomason

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