The Chadian director Mahamat-Saleh Haroun is the subject of a welcome retrospective at BAM, April 20-25. It features the U.S. première of his new film, “A Season in France,” in which Haroun, who has been living in France since 1982, bitterly confronts the shame and the scandal of that country’s xenophobic rejection of recent African and Asian migrants.
“A Season in France” is the story of Abbas (Eriq Ebouaney), a refugee from the Central African Republic who, with his two young children, Asma (Aalayna Lys) and Yacine (Ibrahim Burama Darboe), has fled a conflict in which his wife, Madeleine, was killed. Abbas, a former teacher, lives in Paris and works at a wholesale produce market. He’s in a relationship with a co-worker named Carole (Sandrine Bonnaire), an immigrant from Poland; his colleague from home, Étienne (Bibi Tanga), a former professor who fled with them, is a regular presence in the household. The stability and safety of Abbas’s family depend on a court decision about their application for asylum. Meanwhile, the family is shunted from apartment to apartment. When the appeal is rejected, Abbas hopes to remain in France nonetheless, but his effort puts Carole at serious legal risk.