Ismaël Ferroukhi

Alain-Michel Blanc & Ismaël Ferroukhi

Younes: Tahar Rahim
Si Kaddour Ben Ghabrit: Michael Lonsdale
Salim Halali: Mahmoud Shalaby
Leila: Lubna Azabal
Le Major von Ratibor: Christopher Buchholz


Film Movement

PRODUCTION France, 2011
RATING Not Rated
GAUGE 3D: DCP, 35mm, DVD,
Digibeta, HDCam, Blu-Ray


“The script by Ferroukhi and Alain-Michel Blanc deftly weaves the different story strands into an effective if not quite pulse-pounding suspenser, its fairly low-key tenor proving helpful when some climactic business involving the last-minute rescue of a child risks corny contrivance. Confidently handled pic is well-cast down the line, with Rahim easily holding center as a watchful protagonist of few words. Everreliable veteran Lonsdale and Arab-Israel newcomer Shalaby are supporting standouts.”
Dennis Harvey, Variety.

A fascinating look at a little-known chapter in the French Resistance during World War II, Ismaël Ferroukhi’s second film highlights the courage of a group of Muslim agents who provided North African Jews with false identification papers and assassinated Vichy informants. Free Men focuses specifically on the political awakening of Younes, an illiterate Algerian immigrant who makes his living selling goods on the black market. To avoid prison after he’s arrested for his illegal peddling, Younes agrees to serve as a spy for the police, reporting on the suspicious activities at a mosque in Paris. But Younes is soon inspired by the men and women he meets at the mosque, particularly its noble rector, Ben Ghabrit (the distinguished veteran actor Michael Lonsdale), and a charismatic singer, Salim, who’s involved in various underground affairs. A taut, suspenseful, and impassioned thriller, Ferroukhi’s film rousingly depicts Younes’s transformation from apathetic criminal to fully committed freedom fighter.



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