Outside The Law

4 - Algerian filmmaker Rachid Bouchareb's Hors la Loi (Outside the Law), a 2010 Cannes Film Festival selection - a fictionalized account of the Setif Massacre - which caused quite a stir before a frame had even been screened at the festival, with French politicians and war veterans demanding that the film be pulled from the lineup. 

Obviously it wasn't.

It reminded me of another film that captured the Algerian liberation struggle from French colonialist rule - Gillo Pontecorvo's 1966 masterpiece, Battle Of Algiers. That film too was considerably controversial in its day; it was banned in France for a number of years.

Obviously, 50 years later, some of the French aren't quite yet willing to turn that page. Any attempts to paint the French government/army in a less than admirable portrait (even if it's fact-based) gets French nationalists anxious.

If you haven't seen Battle Of Algiers, I strongly recommend that you do, especially if you plan on eventually seeing Bouchareb's film, as a companion piece. Both films take place at different moments when Algeria was under French rule: the Setif Massacre covered in Bouchareb's film occurred soon after WWII, 1945; Battle of Algiers begins about 9 years later, reconstructing events that took place between 1954 and 1960, leading to Algeria's eventual independence from France.

Here's a trailer for Hors la Loi (Outside the Law) which is now streaming on Netflix: