in "Les Harkis", Philippe Faucon is interested in the complexity of the Algerian war

in “Les Harkis”, Philippe Faucon is interested in the complexity of the Algerian war

From left to right: the actors Mohamed Mouffok, Omar Boulakirba and Théo Cholbi, on May 19, 2022, on the beach of the Directors' Fortnight, in Cannes.


Philippe Faucon may tackle some of the thorniest issues in the national debate, immigration, discrimination, postcolonialism, etc., the filmmaker never signs works on the subject. He makes films, often with non-professionals, seeking with them something unique, coming from within, likely to be brought to the screen. This patient work reveals sensitive portraits of characters that society often hides behind categories: teenagers from the northern neighborhoods (Sami, 2000), radicalized young people (Disintegration2011), a housekeeper (Fatima, 2015), a construction worker (Ameen, 2018)…

Born in 1958 in Morocco, son of a soldier, Philippe Faucon has a personal history with this conflict which still arouses virulent debates

After The treason (2005), chronicle of the disillusionment of a French lieutenant during the Algerian war (1954-1962), Philippe Faucon revisits the last years of the conflict with The Harkis, presented at the Directors’ Fortnight: the film explores the feeling of abandonment that seizes Algerian soldiers, engaged alongside the French army. The harkis will find themselves caught in a vice, exposed to reprisals from the FLN, while negotiations for a ceasefire have begun and the independence of Algeria is looming.

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Born in 1958 in Oujda, in the north-east of Morocco, the son of a soldier, Philippe Faucon has a personal history with this conflict which always gives rise to virulent debates, moreover little documented in the cinema – let us quote, among others, The Little Soldier (1963), by Jean-Luc Godard, or To be 20 years old in the Aurès (1972), by René Vautier. By working on The HarkisPhilippe Faucon remembered this sentence pronounced by a man who lived through this tragedy: “The page of the Algerian war must not be torn out, but we must find ways to turn it. »

Unsaid and propaganda

The Harkis are interested in the complexity of the human relations which are tied inside the unit under the command of Lieutenant Pascal (Théo Cholbi). We are in 1959: young men, Salah (Mohamed Mouffok) and Kaddour (Amine Zorgane), leave their village, sometimes their wife and their children, to join the French army. They don’t really know what awaits them, and the whole narrative feeds on this unsaid combined with propaganda. Philippe Faucon delivers a precise diary, dated, of three years of struggle, negotiations and negotiations of the French army, seen from the small contingent, without ever getting lost in events or the reconstitution of a battle.

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