Lingui: The Sacred Bonds review – powerful abortion drama from Chad

A single mother’s life has to navigate religious and legal strictures when her teenage daughter becomes pregnant

Simran Hans
Sun 6 Feb 2022

Fifteen-year-old Maria (Rihane Khalil Alio) is pregnant and in desperate need of an abortion. The procedure is taboo in Chad, where she lives. It’s up to her single mother, Amina (Achouackh Abakar Souleymane), to find a solution, aided by a secret network of women.

“I don’t want to be like you, Mum. They think you’re a loose woman,” says Maria, face turned away from the camera, to her mother. Amina, on the other hand, meets the film-maker’s gaze head-on. In this compelling though not exactly subtle drama from Chadian writer-director Mahamat-Saleh Haroun, Amina is a beacon of hope in brightly coloured robes. Her grit and determination are apparent from the opening scene, in which she breaks down a tyre for scrap metal.

Trailer at link:

Set in Chad, Cannes film ‘Lingui’ explores abortion struggles

July 9, 2021

CANNES, France, July 9 (Reuters) - The director behind "Lingui", a Cannes Film Festival entry about a teenager's battle in Chad to get an abortion, said on Friday he hoped the story would resonate well beyond the African country, including in places like the United States where there are vocal anti-abortion movements.

Mahamet-Saleh Haroun said he was inspired to explore the issue after reading stories about babies abandoned or killed by their young mothers in Chad, where abortion is only allowed in specific cases where a woman's life is in danger.