"Outlaw", a controversy and a film


With the controversy that preceded the presentation of "Outlaw" in Cannes, director Rachid Bouchareb would probably not have dreamed of a better promotion for his latest film. It must be said that the backdrop of this film, the Algerian war, brings us back to a dark page in the history of France, on which we have long preferred to throw a modest veil rather than evoke a disturbing past. Rumors about the historical imprecisions and inaccuracies of the "Outlaw" scenario were enough to awaken those nostalgic for colonialism and circles close to the French far-right and thus fuel the controversy.


Despite these posturing and the few scattered demonstrations, the film was rather well received yesterday in Cannes by the critics. It tells a family saga, the journey and fate of three Algerian brothers, from the massacre in Setif on May 8, 1945 to independence in 1962. The events in Setif are also the highlight of the film. On May 8, 1945, the demonstration to celebrate the end of the war was transformed by Algerians into a demand for the independence of their country, turned into a riot and led to bloody repression. A "forgotten" episode which throws a cold and whose "brutal" evocation provokes controversy.

A brutal return to a disturbing past

As the director clarified, "The film is not a battlefield, it is not made to provoke confrontations, it was made to open a debate in serenity. I don't have to take in charge of the whole of History, I make cinema (...). " Effectively. One can undoubtedly reproach "Hors la loi" for its deviations from history. But it is up to politicians and historians, who have been rather discreet on the issue in recent decades, to carry out the essential work of memory. To finally get out of denial and amnesia. There is nothing to lose for a country to face its history with serenity. This film at least has the merit of inciting us to do so. Quickly.

Outlaw, by Rachid Bouchareb, in theaters on September 22. Read the HPT review.

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