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To Be Twenty in the Aures (1972)
"Avoir 20 ans dans les Aurès" (original title)

 -  Drama | War  -  12 May 1972 (France)
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 137 users  
Reviews: 5 user | 4 critic

How to become a killing machine in Algeria when, at the start, you are a Pacifist Breton. Let Lieutenant Perrin deal with this bunch of rebels and make them "true soldiers", who know how to... See full summary »



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Title: To Be Twenty in the Aures (1972)

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Complete credited cast:
Alexandre Arcady ...
Noël (as Arcady)
Hamid Djellouli ...
Philippe Léotard ...
Le lieutenant Perrin
Jacques Canselier ...
Coco (as Jacques Cancelier)
Jean-Michel Ribes ...
Le curé
Alain Scoff ...
Le soldat Lomic
Jean-Jacques Moreau ...
Jacques (as J. Jacques Moreau)
Michel Elias ...
Yves Branellec ...
Philippe Brizard ...
La Marie
Charles Trétout ...
Pierre Vautier ...
Alain Vautier ...
Bernard Ramel ...


How to become a killing machine in Algeria when, at the start, you are a Pacifist Breton. Let Lieutenant Perrin deal with this bunch of rebels and make them "true soldiers", who know how to shoot, who know how to torture, who know how to kill. Only Noël resists, only Noël tries to do something to put an end to this folly... Written by Guy Bellinger

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

algerian war | See All (1) »


Drama | War





Release Date:

12 May 1972 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Att vara tjugo år i Aurès-bergen  »

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Did You Know?


Bien le bonjour, mon Lieutenant
Written by René Vautier
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User Reviews

We were soldiers.(and we did not want to be)
27 April 2005 | by See all my reviews

When I saw the movie in a theater,some 30 years ago,we were two.

"Avoir vingt ans dans les Aurès" is ,technically ,a rather poor ,nay,amateurish work.And nevertheless ,it's an important one.It preceded the much more accessible "RAS" (Yves Boisset) by almost one year.

It's some kind of scribbled notes about the war,but the words do not cut,they bite.All the soldiers on the screen are conscripts who do not know why they are fighting for and who are always screaming "la quille!" (=demob!)Tired,pitiful soldiers ,in a dirty war ,which was to France what Vietnam was to America.

The movie is made of several flashbacks and an epilogue .Rebellious draftees in les Aures (south of Algeria).A lieutenant (an excellent Philippe Leotard,it's interesting to note that this actor,now deceased,was known for his liberal lefties ideas),whose job is war and who is in the end more intelligent than the intellectual of his platoon.His takeover of Nono's death ,at the end of the movie ,followed by the lines in the final credits, shows that the last laugh is his.He knew from the start that the proles union was nothing but a good joke.

With the exception of a schoolteacher,all the draftees are non educated guys.One of them does not even know what a putsch is !"First,we shoot because we have the jitters,but little by little,we get to like it". There is no music,but there are a lot of songs ,most of them overtly anarchist and anti militarist :"do not set foot in this s...,or you will sink into it up to your neck".

Please ,do not compare it to "paths of glory" .René Vautier is not a great director ,but his movie was made from real facts and it is a moving account of how in Algeria ,young boys'lives were stolen -two of them disappeared mysteriously ,we're told during the final credits,and their family did not have any information about what happened-.

A beautiful scene shows the boys screaming "now we are the generals !what shall we do?" "No more wars,no more uniforms !" is the answer as the soldiers strip bare and one of them shows his a....

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