Feature

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90′

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Allah is not obliged

Allah n’est pas obligé

Birahima, a Guinean orphan of only ten years of age, tells the story of how he became a child soldier when he tried to join his aunt in Liberia with the help of four dictionaries and heavy irony.

When ten-year-old Birahima’s mother dies, he leaves his native village in Cote d’Ivoire, accompanied by sorcerer and cook Yacouba, to search for his aunt Mahan. Crossing the border into Liberia, they are seized by rebels and forced into military service. Birahima becomes a child-soldier. Fighting in a chaotic civil war alongside many other boys, Birahima sees death, torture, dismemberment and madness but somehow manages to retain his own sanity.

Director’s statement
Since 1980, increasing tensions between freedmen and natives in Liberia have led to a civil war bringing the country to its knees. Many of these atrocities were perpetrated by child soldiers, a macabre whirlwind that has had a devastating impact on an entire generation of children traumatized by their own crimes. This is the terrible topic of Ahmadou Kourouma’s novel. The book immerses the reader in a terrifying conflict through the eyes of a kid named Birahima. It is a universal story tinged with dark humour. I wanted to make Kourouma’s novel into an animated film, both to show the terrible fate of child soldiers, and to transform this pacifist manifesto into a film that is both funny and dark. I grew up hearing tragicomic stories of my family about everyday life during the Lebanese civil war. In the book, I found the same epic stories of scoundrels. Child soldiers are often depicted as bloodthirsty killing machines. Here, they are simply human beings forced to adapt to survive.

Director

Zaven Najjar


zaven.najjar@gmail.com
Producer

Sébastien Onomo


sonomo@specialtouchstudios.com

Country of production

France

Target audience

all audiences

Animation Technique

3D (CGI)

Production company

Special Touch Studios
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Creative Europe media programme

CEE Animation is supported by the Creative Europe – MEDIA Programme of the European Union and co-funded by state funds and foundations and professional organisations from the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia.

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