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rédacteur
Hassouna Mansouri
publié le
14/06/2010
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Hassouna Mansouri




Rachid Bouchareb, director


Such as a gangster film


Debbouz en Al Capone





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Hors la loi by Rachid Bouchareb
In the Whirl of politics
63rd Cannes Film Festival

Two African films where in competition in the last Cannes Film Festival (May 12th-23rd). The screaming man by Mahamat-Saleh Haroun (Chad) was well expected with good feelings already. But it was not the same with the Hors la Loi (Outside of the law) by Rachid Bouchareb (Algeria)
Right before the festival there was already a big polemic around the French-Algerian film. More the festival came closer more the debates gained in tension and aggression against the film crew.
Once the film was screened everybody was in, a way, disappointed: All this for nothing. One should say that a lot journalist would be happy to find a reason of all these attacks against a film before, it is screened.

In fact the subject of the film was understood as a pamphlet against the colonial french polities in Algeria in the 50ies (Algeria was a French colony from 1835 until 1962). It tells a part of the story of the liberation movement. It tells how the Algerian revolution started.
The debate around the film, or against it, was opened by French right wings politics in the French parliament. Their argument was that the film, which is in a big part produced thanks to French money, is giving a bad image of France. How can the French money be spent on such a movie?
Feeling hardly attacked Bouchareb, who has the French nationality, felt forced to react. He sent a letter to the festival inviting everybody to two things: one is to wait and see; second to keep the debate about cinema and not put too much politic to it.

In fact, the director had already to face this kind of reaction with his previous film Days of in 2006, Glory, the story of African and Maghrebin infantrymen in 1943 (Collective Prize for Best Actors at the Festival de Cannes.
The day of the screening we could notice extra security agents around the festival area and journalists meticulously checked at the entrances. There was even a threat of some stupid action. Luckily nothing happened.

After watching the movie, the general impression was that the polemic before screening was completely wrong. It helped even the publicity for it.
The film tells in fact about some events related to the beginning of the revolution. It starts even with a famous event, one 8th may 1945 when French security forces and colons stopped a peaceful Marche in the city of Sétif. That day thousands of Algerians, from one part, and hundreds of French from the other part, where killed. (Around 45,000 victims)
Everybody expected a condemnation of the French, that's why some deputies and senators were angry. There is well a focus on nonhuman behavior in the context of the colonization, but no explicit condemnation.
History gives only the general atmosphere of the film. When we look at it closely, we see that it is more about a gangster film than a political one about a revolution neither against the French.

It is mainly a fiction which tells the story of an Algerian family right after the second world war. It is destiny of three brothers and their mother after losing their family house usurped by the French colons.
Messaoud joins the French army in Indochina; Abdelkader becomes a leader of the Algerian independence movement in France and Saïd enters the mafia milieu of Paris to make his fortune. His world is shady clubs and boxing halls of Pigalle (suburb of Paris).
Bouchareb focuses more on the fight of these brothers to survive than on the political conflict. This last aspect is even showed as ridiculous at certain moments.

The Algerians and the French are both described as violent and with no sense of humanity. There is a condemnation of the absurdity of war much more than a condemnation of this part or the other.
At the end the film is against nobody. It makes even everybody happy, we mean all the financers French and Algerians. The film coasted the modicum some of 20 millions of Euros.

Hassouna MANSOURI

Published in www.africareview.kn

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   liens films

Hors-la-loi 2010
Rachid Bouchareb


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Bouchareb Rachid


   vnements

12/05/2010 > 23/05/2010
festival |France |
Festival de Cannes 2010
63e édition

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