Outside the Law / Hors-la-loi
Year of release: 2010
Directed by: Rachid Bouchareb
France, Algeria, Belgium, Tunisia
Bouchareb's film tells the story of Algerian resistance against French colonial rule through the microcosm of a family, consisting of three brothers, Messaoud, Abdelkader, Saïd and their fragile old mother. Tracing the colonial history and its effect upon the Algerian family between 1925, when the family is evicted from their land, and 1962, when Algeria achieved independence, the film's main focus is the period between 1955, when the family relocate to a shanty town in Nanterre and Abdelkader becomes one of the figureheads of the FLN.
His brother Messaoud, who fought as a soldier for the French in Indochina before joining his family in Nanterre, reluctantly joins Abdelkader in the good cause, but suffers from the brutalisation this involves. He justifies the violence as a means to creating a better future for his baby son, whom he hardly ever sees since he devotes his entire life to the resistance. In the end, he is killed in a shootout, while Abdekader is saved by Saïd, who tried to stay well clear of politics and aspires to becoming rich through running a night club and grooming an Algerian boxer to become the French champion. Abdelkader is eventually shot dead during the infamous massacre in Paris on 17 November 1961, when the Parisian police beat down an illegal but peaceful demonstration of Algerian FLN supporters. The film ends on a victorious note with documentary footage of Algeria achieving independence.