'Esse est percipi'.
'To be is to be perceived'. - George Berkeley (1685 – 1753)
A bitter logic lies in the fact that those whom the society does not care to see are living by night. At the junction of Lightfoot-Boston and Wilberforce in downtown Freetown, Sierra Leone the streets of the city are covered in darkness. Only a few street lamps and flares of light from passing cars and motorcycles sporadically illuminate the Dantesque scenery. This is where a group of friends live. They call themselves the Freetown Streetboys, even though some women are among them. They each face enormous physical and psychological challenges. From early childhood when they endured the neglect and scorn of their parents until the present day, their life has been one of social abandonment by the world around them. With no place but the bleak and sleepless streets of the capital city, they are condemned to a life of begging. Shado'man is a cinematic journey undertaken by the filmmaker together with the 'Streetboys': Suley, Lama, David, Alfred, Shero and Sarah. The camera becomes a nucleus around which their life unfolds, unlocking a space for previously unshared pains, dreams and aspirations. Blind man, Lama yearns to meet a female companion, desiring tenderness in his life. His friend David, who is also blind, struggles to find money for his sisters' education. Shero is battling with his demons and Sarah, who is pregnant by him, anxiously looks into the uncertain future of their child. Alfred is by their side to mediate and Suley with his captivating voice reveals his painful childhood experience directly to the viewer. The film delves into the inner world of each character to reveal the dignity of humans surviving under inhumane conditions.
Shot in Freetown, Sierra Leone
Release in 2014
87 min, feature length documentary
Available on DCP
Original language Krio
Subtitles English, French or Dutch