“Goodbye Julia”: in Sudan, two women between lies and desire for emancipation

“Goodbye Julia”: in Sudan, two women between lies and desire for emancipation

Khartoum 2005. Mona (Eiman Yousif), a rich North Sudanese woman, a former singer, lives with her husband Akram in a large house sheltered from the tumult of the street.

After the death in a helicopter accident of John Garangleader of Christians of the South, just after the signing of a peace agreement with the Muslim minority of North, riots break out bringing South Sudanese secessionist demands, predominantly black. The event fuels suspicion between neighbors and causes the eviction of Julia (Siran Riak), her husband and her young son Daniel. Fate seems to fall on Julia when Daniel is hit by a car and her husband suddenly disappears… Will the meeting of the two women allow them to overcome their differences?

In his first feature film, the Sudanese filmmaker reflects on the weight of guilt and the ravages of lies, on confinement and false pretenses. Through this double portrait of a woman, Mohamed Kordofani explores latent racism of Sudanese society and the complexity of human relations.

Neither Mona nor Julia are fooled by the restricted scope that society grants them, each trying to take advantage of the little freedom and opportunities left to them. In this induced proximity, each observes and adapts to the other, little by little their relationship evolves. But will their connivance, based on an initial lie, be able to withstand the pressure of external events and a fundamentally broken society?

With an elegant and controlled style, without ever giving in to the temptation of gratuitous aestheticization, the filmmaker films his country prey to civil violence and racial tensions, finding illuminating metaphors in his setting.

It clearly highlights the mirages of secession and the concrete impact that this partition had on the populations concerned, displaced and forced to start their lives again in another place (the South) which had no longer been their home for a long time, in this country which was until then the largest country in Africa.

Goodbye Julia*** speaks well of compromises, preconceived ideas, assignments and vicious circles, the difficulty of asserting oneself in a society corseted and padlocked from the inside.

This first film is all the richer because it sheds light on a situation often passed over in silence in this part of the hemisphere. But which nevertheless remains cruelly relevant, the two Sudans tirelessly continuing to clash and tear each other apart.

Karin Tshidimba

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