Following a few days when politics took over the festival for the premiere of the Valerie Plame tale "Fair Game" and Lawrence Bender’s nuclear "Countdown to Zero," the politics took to the streets, sparked by the Algerian competition film “Hors la Loi” (“Outside the Law”), which premieres Friday.
Protesters gathered in the morning at the War Memorial a few blocks from the Palais to demonstrate against what they see as an unjust portrayal of France’s role in the Algerian war that led to that country’s independence in 1962.
According to the Riviera Times, at least 1,500 people were gathered. It’s hard to say if the number is accurate though I should be good at gauging numbers of people in lines by now, having waited in enough of them to get into films this week at the festival.
The crowd almost completely comprised senior citizen veterans and wives, many wearing their military gear and decorations. The Riviera Times also reported that pied-noirs (French people born in Algeria) were also joining the demonstration. Protesters carried French flags and held signs that accused the film of misrepresenting French history.
The gendarmes were out in force, but all was peaceful.
“Outside the Law” from French-Algerian Rachid Bouchareb is a French, Algerian, Belguim, Italian and Tunisian co-production that tells the story of three brothers and their mother who are scattered across the globe after they lose their family home in Algeria.
The Riviera Times also reported: “Meanwhile, another film has caused some upset in the Italian camp leading Culture Minister Sandro Bondi to refuse his invitation to the film fest. The offending piece is a documentary by the Italian satirist and comedian Sabina Guzzanti entitled “Draquila.”
It was being shown out of competition and argues that Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi exploited the earthquake in Aquila which killed more than 300 people in April last year to boost his popularity.”