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Foreign Film - France - Free Men - Les Hommes Libres

France - Free Men - Les Hommes Libres

Foreign Film DVD
French with English Subtitles
The Jewish Film Club 2012
99 minutes

You would expect a foreign movie DVD about the French resistance to be interesting. More so if it is based on true events. Even more so if it is about a young Muslim and the Parisian Muslim community trying to hide a Jewish singer and rescue more Jews. This is unfortunately not the case for Free Men / Les Homme Libres by director Ismael Ferroukhi. A generous viewer would excuse some of this movie's weak points because of it is a small budget film but energy doesn't cost anything and this movie has very little before the last twenty or so minutes.

The story is set in the Algerian community in WWII Paris. Younes is a black marketer who is very good at looking out for number one. He gets caught and is asked to report on the goings on in the Paris mosque. He sells an instrument to singer Salim Halali and is impressed with his talent. When he finds out Halali is being protected by the mosque and its leader (Michael Lonsdale), Younes has a choice to make.

This movie has its moments but the performances are so subdued that you never feel any tension or danger.

An oddity is that in the English subtitled version the Arabic dialogue is also subtitled. This is not so in the original French. This is an important distinction as this lack of translation in the French created a separation between Arabic and non-Arabic viewers that no longer exists in this Jewish Film Club version.

Like other foreign movies associated with the Film Movement label, Free Men includes a short. It is Lustig, a 17-minute short directed by John Francis Black II. It is by far better than the main feature.

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