A "Reformed Colonel" is found dead in Paris, a couple of decades after Algeria's struggle for independence was won from France. Lieutenant Galois is assigned the investigation of this ... See full summary »
A "Reformed Colonel" is found dead in Paris, a couple of decades after Algeria's struggle for independence was won from France. Lieutenant Galois is assigned the investigation of this murder. She receives the diary of Lieutenent Guy Rossi who served under The Colonel in Algeria in 1956, and has been reported as missing in action since 1957. The revelations found in Rossi's diary go far beyond The Colonel's actions in Algeria, and give an insight on how dirty Algeria's War for Independence really was. Written by
Laurent Herbiet's near-perfect film plays out like a post-mortem murder mystery, but perhaps its most engaging moments are spent in the past - filmed in gritty, black and white, evoking newsreel footage from the Algerian War of the late 50s. It is a stunning first film, which manages to both incorporate and shrug off the influence of producers the Dardenne brothers and politically-minded filmmaker Costa-Gavras. This is clearly Herbiet's show, and his confidence with the camera is highly evident here.
As co-writer and producer Costa-Gavras mentioned in his preamble at the 2006 Toronto Int'l Film Festival, this film is less about history than a metaphor for the present. One sees frightening parallels to the recent wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Lebanon. Olivier Gourmet gives a riveting performance as the morally flexible titular character, and Robinson Stévenin is convincingly sympathetic as the conflicted apprentice and unwilling accomplice Lt. Rossi.
It's worth seeing, despite a lackluster framing device that betrays the immediacy of scenes set in the past.
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