Free Men | Les hommes libres
Director: Ismaël Ferroukhi | France | 2011 | 99 mins | Cert: 12A
Starring: Tahar Rahim, Michael Lonsdale, Mahmoud Shalaby, Lubna Azabal
Inspired by true events, this gripping espionage drama recounts the often overlooked collaboration between Arab émigrés and the French Resistance during World War II.
Unemployed Algerian immigrant, Younges (Tahar Rahim) survives in 1942 Paris by working as a black marketeer, but like all who exist in such a precarious environment, he’s living on borrowed time. When the law finally catches up with him, he’s given the choice of prison or spying on the inhabitants of a local Mosque who are suspected of harbouring Jews and resistance fighters and passing them off as Muslims.
A born survivor, Younges initially works both sides, becoming a useful go-between for the Gestapo and the Mosque. But with the passing of time, events conspire to transform this hitherto apolitical cynic into a dedicated freedom activist who realizes that for change to occur he must, for the first time in his life, take a stand. – Alliance French Film Festival 2012