Abouna is told from the standpoint of two brothers (eight and fifteen), whose father suddenly disappears. The boys don't understand and set off to look for him in town. In a cinema, they are surprised to see their father as an actor on the silver screen. They steal the film to look at the shots of their father, but they are caught. So their mother sends them to a Koran school, where they will have to be brought up to be respectable boys. Deserted by their father and sent away by their mother, the boys do not have an easy time at the strict school. Amine's asthma plays up in these dusty surroundings and after a failed attempt to escape, Tahir and Amine are tackled even more harshly. Fortunately there are also lighter points: one of the staff has a weak spot for Amine, and something beautiful starts to blossom between Tahir and a deafmute girl.Abouna is a fine example of panAfrican cinema: the film was shot in Chad and Cameroon by the maker of the prizewinning Bye Bye Africa and coproduced by Abderrahmane Sissako (present at the festival with Heremakono/Waiting for Happiness). To that can be added the camerawork of the Ethiopian Abraham Haile Biru: it is just as energetic as the protagonists themselves and provides a significant contribution to the high-spirited mood that Haroun manages to maintain throughout - despite the misery lurking at every turn.