Adu(Netflix, Spanish & English)
Starring Moustapha Oumarou, Luis Tosar , Adam Nourou,Álvaro Cervantes.
Directed by Salvador Calvo
Rating: *****(5 stars)
As this nearly-flawless film about inhuman apathy to refuges and the kindness and compassion of strangers, reached its devastating closure,I prayed for our little hero. So young, just 6, on his own in a big wide inhuman world, making his bewildered way through a sea of humanity which he barely understands….
Adu is a heartbreaking exposition on the refugee situation. Though it is located in Africa and shows desperate human beings leaving home and crossing the line illegally in the hope of a better life, this could be a film about Royingyas fleeing starvation or the Jews escaping concentration camps. There is a disturbing continuity and recency to little Adu’s story.
Adu flees from Cameroon with his Badi Didi Alika(Zayiddiya Dissou) barely more than a child herself. Alika dies a stunning surreal death leaving the little boy homeless defenceless and bereft , when he suddenly meets an older boy Massar(Adam Nourou) who becomes a father, mother, brother and protector all rolled into one for little Adu.
I confess I cried when I saw Massar, a complete stranger, taking little Adu under his wings doing ‘Majeek’(magic) for the bewildered boy to smile. Their journey together in search of safety and home is so spectacular visually and so resplendent emotionally that it would be impossible for any viewer with even a shred of sensitivity to not surrender unconditionally to the free and fluent flow of emotions in a world that is so mortifyingly bereft of empathy and even basic kindness.
More than a film that shows us the imperativeness of humanism, Adu is a damn good adventure story filled with heartstopping moments of suspense and poignancy. When Adu is whisked away in a car by a pedophile , Massar’s panic becomes our panic.Little Adu’s safety our responsibility. No Adu in the world should be vulnerable to attack. I came from this exceptional film with one big lesson. Let’s be kind to refugees.
And watch this film scale summits of triumphant storytelling weaving in and out of chaotic locations with the two boys, played with extreme empathy by Moustapha Oumarou and Adam Nourou, making that run for freedom which only the homeless know how to.
Oh yes, I almost forgot . There are two other subplots about the refugee situation in the film. One is about a father(Álvaro Cervantes) trying to bond with his wild daughter(Anna Castillo) .Although this subplot has a very heartwarming twist at the end, to be honest, this story doesn’t really belong here.Ditto the second subplot about soldiers on trial for killing a refugee while he was trying to cross the fence to get to the other side of the border.
As engrossing as these subplots might be, my eyes searched frantically for little Adu each time he was not in camera range. Please, Dear God, if you are listening.Let every in the world Adu find a home. Or if not, then at least let every child find a Massar to protect him from predators.Is that too much to ask for?