Twelve-year-old Adama lives in a remote village in Western Africa. Beyond the cliffs, the World of Breaths can be found, where the Nassaras reign.
One night, Samba, his older brother, disappears. Defying the laws of the elders, Adama decides to set out to find him. With the unwavering determination of a child becoming a man, he launches into a quest that will take him beyond the seas, to the North, to the front lines of World War One.
It is 1916.
Adama is an invitation to see through new eyes a chapter in history we think we know. A deeply subjective inverted fable. An exploration by a child from "somewhere else" of our sick and self-destructive world, which he attempts to re-enchant through poetry and magic.
Adama is set in a specific period – the First World War – but it is not an historical film. It is a tale which along the way turns into an historical account. What is important for us is the contemporary resonance of Adama's adventure. We know animation has the ability to connect audiences with the character's innermost being, to make perceptible Adama's changing view of the world, a world at war, which eventually gave rise to today's society.
This war represented a crucial moment in the relationship between Africa and Europe. For, at the very peak of its brutality, the supremacy of the colonists began to wane. Travelling to France as native soldiers, the “colonized” found themselves in the position of observer, explorer, ethnologist and learnt to see the world with new eyes. Although World War One, and its trenches, was one of the bloodiest and most barbaric chapters in human history, it was also, paradoxically, a vast melting pot where, for the first time in history, the peoples of the world met. A kind of genuine but, certainly, botched birth of today’s world.
- Julien Lilti and Simon Rouby