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Lingui, The Sacred Bonds(Lingui, les liens sacrés)

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭   Read critic reviews

France, Germany, Belgium · 2021
1h 27m
Director Mahamat-Saleh Haroun
Starring Achouackh Abakar Souleymane, Rihane Khalil Alio, Youssouf Djaoro, Briya Gomdigue
Genre Drama

Single mother Amina lives with her fifteen-year-old daughter, Maria, outside the capital of Chad. When Maria reveals she is pregnant and wants an abortion, the latter of which is illegal, mother and daughter must rely on each other to brave the storms ahead and survive in a country that looks to keep them chained.

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What are critics saying?


Time Out by Dave Calhoun

It’s a simple, angry work, determined to get across its point with force and with few distractions.


IndieWire by David Ehrlich

Lingui can only exist in the face of great hardship, and Haroun’s surprisingly cathartic film honors the tradition by celebrating the fact that it still does.


Variety by Guy Lodge

Lingui may return its maker to a familiar milieu, but it’s an exciting departure in other respects. This is Haroun’s first film focused expressly on women: Perhaps it’s a coincidence that it’s less stentorian in its melodrama than some of his previous work, though given the shift, it feels apt that the film listens as much as it speaks. Its surprises extend to its choices of emphasis and protagonist.


Los Angeles Times by Justin Chang

The world it shows us, etched in fully felt performances and beautifully hued compositions, feels vividly, sometimes overwhelmingly present.


The Guardian by Peter Bradshaw

I am not entirely sure that Haroun entirely absorbs into the drama the shocking act of violence, with all its necessary consequences. But the sheer seriousness and urgency of the deceptively unhurried story give it power.


The Playlist by Robert Daniels

For the acclaimed Chadian filmmaker, Lingui, his first foray into women-driven stories wobbles with underdevelopment but still manages to be a harrowing tale of bodily freedom.


TheWrap by Steve Pond

The director is more interested in quietly telling the story of two specific women, and letting the audience grasp the big picture without much prodding.


The Telegraph by Tim Robey

It’s the silent allegiances of sisterhood, a near-underground network operating to safeguard women’s rights, which exercise Haroun’s imagination throughout this excellent piece.


Screen Daily by Wendy Ide

In its own rather clunky way, the film strikes a blow for feminism in central Africa, and Amina, who strikes several literal blows on the man who impregnated her daughter, ends the film unexpectedly empowered by the experience.

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