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The First Man (2011)

Le premier homme (original title)
The first man is an adaptation of the unfinshed autobiographical novel "Le Premier Homme" by the french writer Albert Camus. It tells the story of Jacques Cormery and his childhood in Algeria.

Director:

Gianni Amelio

Writers:

Gianni Amelio (screenplay), Albert Camus (novel)
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7 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Michel Crémadès ... Gardien du cimetière (as Michel Crémades)
Jacques Gamblin ... Jacques Cormery
Mickaël Batret Mickaël Batret ... Étudiant (as Michael Batret)
Jean Benoit Souilh Jean Benoit Souilh ... Étudiant (as Jean-Benoît Souilh)
Nicolas Lublin Nicolas Lublin ... Journaliste
Florent Chesne Florent Chesne ... Étudiant
Franck Mercadal Franck Mercadal ... (as Franck Marcadal)
Alexandre Michel Alexandre Michel ... Étudiant
Benoit Bertran de Balanda Benoit Bertran de Balanda ... Étudiant
Catherine Sola Catherine Sola ... Catherine Cormery (1957)
Nino Jouglet Nino Jouglet ... Jacques Cormery, enfant
Ulla Baugue Ulla Baugue ... La grand-mère (as Ulla Baugué)
Maya Sansa ... Catherine Cormery (1913-1924)
Barthélémy Gilet Barthélémy Gilet
Jean-Bastien Périchon Jean-Bastien Périchon ... (as Jean-Bastien Perichon)
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Storyline

The first man is an adaptation of the unfinshed autobiographical novel "Le Premier Homme" by the french writer Albert Camus. It tells the story of Jacques Cormery and his childhood in Algeria.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

based on novel | See All (1) »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site [Japan]

Country:

France | Italy | Algeria

Language:

French

Release Date:

20 April 2012 (Italy) See more »

Also Known As:

Il primo uomo See more »

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Box Office

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$1,006,991
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film was shot in French, but the Italian dubbed version features extremely well known actors whose voices are quite recognizable by the Italian public: Gamblin is dubbed by Pierfrancesco Favino, other characters are voiced by Ilaria Occhini, Sergio Rubini, Ricky Tognazzi, Kim Rossi Stuart and Giancarlo Giannini. See more »

Connections

References Il padrone delle ferriere (1919) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Staying true to a legend
16 August 2012 | by socialmedia-437-956449See all my reviews

Based on an autobiographical book by Albert Camus, "Le Premier Homme" film follows Jean Cormery (Jacques Gamblin) the alter ego of the famed philosopher and journalist, on his return to Algeria in the late 1950s. He is back to visit his mother (Catherine Sola) to whom he is attached, reconnect with his past and trace stories of his father.

The film is relayed in the past and present. We visit the writer's tender childhood through flashbacks, while the present carries the struggles of a man torn between the warmth of the Algerian sun, the weight of the colonialism stamp as pied-noir and the bitter relations between both continents.

The mother and son conversations are some of the powerful scenes in "Le Premier Homme". She is overwhelmingly proud of what her son has become; he worries about her living alone in her advancing years. It is a unique bond, often charming in its silences. One can't be indifferent to the magnificent performances by both Gamblin and Sola.

Then comes the Algerian land that Cormery insists on visiting, triggering his vivid reminiscence of childhood. We are shown how this young boy with innocent features showed, at a very early age, a remarkable gift for perception while excelling in his academic performances. This combination will define him as an adult as he tries to fight the effects of colonialism and pays a price for taking a stand on the dilemma.

"Le Premier Homme" is adapted from the book with the same name, which was discovered after the tragic death of Camus in a car accident. The unfinished manuscript was published intact with Camus' notes and mistakes years later. The incomplete autobiography combines the passions inherited from his Algerian birthplace with the probing intellect of a revolutionary existentialistic and genuine thinker. Camus's words are translated into images allowing us to follow the development of his on-screen persona. The omnipresence of the sun and sea captures the hospitality of the Algerian landscape as he's always described it.

Winner of the Prize of the International Critics for Special Presentation at the Toronto Film Festival 2011, "Le Premier Homme" manages to stay loyal to Camus' spirit. As co-producer Bruno Pésery explained at the Dubai International Film Festival last year, the filmmakers filled the narrative gaps of the incomplete book using archival pictures and letters of the author, with the collaboration of Camus's daughter.

When I first learnt about this film at DIFF, I approached the screening with feelings of fear and excitement. The writings of Camus shaped my early thoughts. Fortunately, the film keeps the integrity of his beautiful descriptions intact: the cinematography, focusing on sunny panoramas and warm-colored flashbacks, offers an authentic view of Algeria.

This is no surprise as Italian director Gianni Amelio, winner of Canne's Grand Jury Award for his 1992 feature "The Stolen Children" has combined his interest in philosophy with a sympathy for Camus' upbringing; both were raised by their mothers and grandmothers and deeply affected by the absence of paternal figures. The results make for a meticulously crafted and emotional film. Fans of Camus will find "Le Premier Homme" both cathartic and heart-warming.


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