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Available for rent


Switzerland,Algeria, 2017

Original music : Zeno Gabaglio Production : Imagofilm Lugano

Programmed by Federico Rossin





Between 1954 and 1962, about a 100 - maybe even as many as 300 - young Frenchmen refused to participate in putting down the Algerian War of Independence. These “draft dodgers” believed in non-violence or were against colonialism. Some of them fled to Switzerland where they received help from Swiss citizens, whereas in France they were condemned as traitors. In 1962, a few months after Independence, Villi Hermann, went to a devastated area near the Algerian - Moroccan border, to help reopen a school. Villi Hermann, as a filmmaker, he has recently been back to Algeria where he met a few of his former pupils. He has also made contact with some French ex draft dodgers, who live back in France or in Switzerland.

Tënk's opinion

Villi Hermann has made an important film, classic in form and sober in language yet full of emotion and impressive for the depth of the historical research. What seems at the beginning to be a film about personal memories turns out to be a passionate tableau of civil and political memory. The director’s journey into the memory of his own youth is interwoven with his return to Algeria in 2016 and his encounters with extraordinary yet humble men who made their refusal to serve the French Army a raison d’être. The movie becomes an archive of revolt in which documents of all kinds come back to talk to us and, above all, to shed light on our present that’s often oblivious.

Federico Rossin
Cinema historian, independent programmer

Item 1 of 4
Item 1 of 4

Item 1 of 4