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Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Inspired by true stories, Free Men (Les Hommes Libres) revolves around a conspiracy against humanity, wartime life, and fighting the system, and showcases a serious and realistic approach by writer and director Ismael Ferroukhi.

Free Men follows the travails of a young Algerian immigrant, Younes (Tahar Rahim), who lives in Paris and makes a living peddling goods to the black market during the Nazi occupation. When he’s arrested and threatened with torture or worse, Younes accepts to spy on the elite community hidden within the pristine walls of the Mosque of Paris, whose rector, Ben Ghabrit (Michael Lonsdale), is suspected of providing Jews and resistant fighters with false identification papers.

At the mosque, Younes meets the Arab-Andalusian singer Salim Halali (Mahmud Shalaby). Touched by his voice and personality, Younes becomes friend with him. He soon discovers that Salim is Jewish, and despite the risks, decides to put an end to his cooperation with the police. Faced with the brutality that surrounds him, Younes, the immigrant worker without any political education, is transformed gradually into a freedom activist.

Free Men is Ismael Ferroukhi’s second feature and is not to be missed. He captures the brutal suffering of Jewish fugitives and the bravery behind the Muslims agents who fought for the French Resistance, who used the Mosque of Paris as the base for operations that included rescuing Jewish fugitives and assassinating Vichy informants.

Free Men has just been released exclusively and can be seen in KZN at Cinema Nouveau Gateway. It is 99 minutes long.

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