Philippe Lacôte’s first fiction feature, Run, builds on his remarkable 2008 documentary Chronicles of War in the Ivory Coast as it refracts the last two decades of his country’s blood-drenched history through the experiences of a young man drawn into the spiral of political violence. Born into a country mired in wars and corruption, the film’s protagonist has been on the run all his life — hence his name, Run (Abdoul Karim Konaté).

Interspersed with flashbacks that follow Run’s twenty-year trajectory from country boy to political militant to assassin, the film explores how violence’s twisted logic takes hold of a society, and how an individual can slip to the far side of reason. When Run enters the church dressed in the tattered clothes of a vagabond — the perfect camouflage in a city where so many unfortunates roam the streets unnoticed — he is not only in disguise: he has been transformed from within. [Synopsis courtesy of Toronto International Film Festival]