Review: Crimes and Misdemeanors

“You’ll find out later in life that great depth and smoldering sensuality don’t always win”

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As someone who prefers Woody Allen’s stand-up comedy to his films, Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989) gave me new-found respect for his work. The film begins with a banquet celebrating Judah Rosenthal (Martin Landau), a successful ophthalmologist and a highly respected man in his Jewish community. He has worked hard to secure a privileged position in life, so when he finds his equilibrium threatened, he is faced with a moral and philosophical dilemma.

A 2-year love affair with flight attendant Dolores (Anjelica Huston) becomes problematic when he comes across a letter from her addressed to his wife, revealing their affair and threatening to destroy his carefully constructed image. She is done waiting, has “put off business opportunities” and turned down other men for him according to her. She deserves to get what she claims was promised: marriage, security, and basic acknowledgment. The viewer sympathises with her character, growing more desperate with each scene she plays in.

Dolores makes the tactical mistake of reminding Judah she is aware of his “financial improprieties” and illegal moving around of funds to maintain his comfortable situation. It is at this moment he feels truly threatened, not only menacing to ruin his private life but also his professional one.

Presented with the opportunity to arrange her murder, it soon becomes the only viable option in Judah’s mind to put an end to his misery. This is a constant trait of this man of so called morals – he is perpetually concerned with his image, his life, his comfort. Where this is an immoral thing to do, his choice is very simple: to allow Delores to destroy his life completely or to eliminate her and carry on with his life unaffected. Judah Rosenthal is a man of probity, and due to his long-standing reputation is therefore exempt from any association to this crime –  he is a man beyond suspicion.

Running parallel to this storyline is that of Cliff (Woody Allen), a now out-of-work newsreel editor who also is also involved in a passionless marriage and adultery. As Roger Ebert pointed out in his review, the film’s format is Shakespearean: “The crimes of kings are mirrored for comic effect in the foibles of the lower orders”, and Cliff certainly brings comedy in this tragedy. Both him and his wife Wendy (Joanna Gleason) are clearly fed up with each other, but unlike Judah, he does not have any appearances to keep up.

It is through Wendy’s two brothers Lester (Alan Alda) and Ben (Sam Waterston) that Cliff’s and Judah’s lives intertwine. Ben’s character is intriguing, he is a Rabbi who, going blind, is treated by Judah. Underlined by Judah’s growing guilty conscience of getting away with murder, Ben’s presence and loss of eyesight evokes the possibility that God, who’s “eyes are always on us”, may have a tendency to turn a blind eye to evil. Throughout Crimes and Misdemeanors, Woody Allen does a brilliant job of suggesting that God merely exists if one lives in the fear of Him, basing all of one’s actions and decisions on the fear of a vengeful God.

Lester is the polar opposite to Ben, a charismatic TV sitcom producer. The embodiment of everything Cliff despises, he is less than thrilled when, as “a favour to Wendy”, Lester gives him the opportunity to work on a documentary about Lester himself. “You weren’t my first choice” he matter-of-factly tells Cliff – neither of them want this to happen. Whilst on the production of Lester’s documentary, Cliff meets Halley (Mia Farrow), becomes infatuated with her after multiple instances of watching and working on film together, yet of course looses her to Lester.

Cliff’s comparison of Lester to Mussolini is his step too far and seems genuinely surprised as to why this should get him fired, this was his way of using the cinematic lens as a tool to expose someone’s true nature. Lester’s character comes across as the continuation of Alan Alda’s famous role as Hawkeye Pierce in M*A*S*H (1972-1983). He is the same endearing, delightful character we watched for 11 seasons, making it not seem impossible that this is the post-war life of the talented surgeon. His hair may have grayed, but certainly not his charm and natural magnetism.

At Ben’s daughter’s wedding, the two protagonists end up “plotting the perfect murder” for a film scenario. Inconspicuously, Judah tells his story in the form of a potential movie plot, and reveals that after a lot of rationalizing, he feels no remorse and is now at peace with his actions. Cliff disagrees with this ending, “how could he live with himself?” he asks Judah. Cliff is a man of morals and philosophy, who ironically by the end of the film has suffered professionally, romantically and ideologically. Judah has abandoned his morals and has thus been able to continue his life of wealth and privilege, he has stopped living in fear of a higher power.

Allen therefore displaces the punishment immoral characters deserved but never received: the wicked are rewarded, the guilty left to languish, and the believer blinded.

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Review: My Life as a Courgette

“There’s no one left to love us.”

It is safe to say this is the best stop-motion since Anderson’s Fantastic Mr. Fox. Originally an auto-biographical account of Gilles Paris’ experience in an orphanage (“Autobiographie d’une Courgette), we follow the string of events that happen to 9-year-old Icare, or rather Courgette as he prefers to be known, after what should be any child’s worst nightmare.

The very fact this film was in the form of stop motion intensified the magic of the story. Every emotional scene is heightened by the intricate workmanship going into the children’s interactions amongst themselves or with adults. This is an area My Life as a Courgette excels in, as the film recognises children’s receptiveness and perceptivity. Adult’s words and actions greatly affect on children, becoming all the more important for them to understand how deeply these orphans are traumatised and just how they are dealing with this.

Authority figures such as the policeman or the social workers are shown in their best light, and is somewhat a tribute to the system. They are fully comprehensive of the children’s needs, such as Icare’s need to be called “Courgette” as his late mother nicknamed him. They do not underestimate their intelligence and give them a secure sense of home and family within the orphanage.

During a skiing trip organised by the orphanage, Camille (another of the home’s residents) and Courgette share a meaningful evening of confessed deep thoughts under the stars, as Courgette realises that now his alcoholic mother is dead, he is relieved his future will never involve drinking large amounts of beer with her as he always imagined. The orphanage has opened up doors and windows of happiness and possibility he never knew existed.

On the same trip, little Ahmed approaches a girl to compliment her red skiing goggles. The girl’s mother rushes over, immediately assuming Ahmed is a thief and demands where his parents are, to which he replies he doesn’t know. Aggressively shooing him away, she humiliates him by calling him a liar. Ahmed’s reaction is heart-breaking, he did not deserve to be shouted at, even less-so to be falsely accused of lying or stealing. If director Claude Barras and screenplay writer Céline Sciamma wanted to get the audiences tear ducts working, this scene did a brilliant job of doing so.

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One of the best things about the film is the script, made up of small details that make the stop motion characters intensely realistic. A few things couldn’t help getting lost in translation, such as one child’s confusion of the words “préliminaires” and “préparatifs” in an adorable attempt to show off his knowledge about grown-ups and sex, but this is understandably imperceptible to anyone who doesn’t speak French. The discussions these children have reflect, at least for characters Simon, Courgette and Camille, the gift of insight, intuition and understanding.

A brilliant way the orphanage came up with helping the children communicate was to give them a communal weatherboard, or “La Météo des Enfants”. This was genius in its simplicity, as the moods ranged from stormy to sunny, being a good meter for each child to easily share what mood they are in. One’s state of mind can be difficult to articulate for anyone, let alone for young, traumatised children.

Each of these children have a huge amount of character, much to do with their individual background stories. We are told the reasons of their being in the orphanage, and suddenly the home becomes a microcosm of society’s problems today. Sciamma mentioned being aware of the political dimension of My Life as a Courgette by portraying the palette of dysfunctional families that exist all around us. The character of Simon is particularly well done, his cliché hard exterior is justified by his acute take on reality. “We’re all the same” he reassures Courgette, “There’s no one left to love us”.

When Courgette and Camille spend a weekend at the Policeman’s home, they cannot help but notice the framed photo of a child and wonder out loud where he is. In a simple and honest manner, the Policeman explains that “sometimes, it’s the kids who leave the parents”. Then showing Camille and Courgette around, they marvel at his collection of succulents and plants. He tells the children that he likes to grow things, which I saw as a wonderful metaphor for his ability to nurture and protect.

The compact runtime of 70 minutes was a very smart move. Although obviously stop motions are painstakingly difficult and costly to make, which can explain the concise runtime, the story didn’t feel too long or too short, and immediately felt rewatchable for all the right reasons. Going into the cinema with extremely mild expectations, I welcomed the numerous ways in which this film touched me, left in utter amazement at the sheer perfection of this masterpiece.

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Review: Blue Velvet

“The candy colored clown they call the sandman…”

Reissued in cinemas thirty years after its initial release (1986), David Lynch’s controversial Blue Velvet remains intact in its scarring effect.

The film is packed with raw emotional scenes that construct the film’s status of a masterpiece. Despite being uneasy viewing, it demands to be watched. The trouble lies in Lynch’s apparent inability to successfully produce an appropriate setting for the intense violence of Blue Velvet.

Jeffrey’s (Kyle MacLachlan) boredom of life in Lumberton and natural inquisitiveness is the premise for what is to follow. On the way back from visiting his father in hospital one day, he finds a severed ear in a field. This leads him to the station, where he gives this lead to the local head of police, who upon their second meeting asks Jeffrey to cease all interest in the case. His previously eluded to prying nature causes these instructions to fall on deaf ears. Instead, he gets romantically involved with the police officer’s daughter, who helps him piece together this mystery that leads to Dorothy (Isabella Rossellini), a nightclub singer.

He realises he has stumbled upon a much bigger mystery than he could have possibly imagined when he sneaks into Dorothy’s flat one night, having to hide in the cupboard as she comes home earlier than anticipated. Witnessing a terrifying phone call between Dorothy and a certain “Frank” (Dennis Hopper), he is discovered by her, her reaction being how one would imagine to an intruder. The shock beings to register within the viewer as one realises she is making their first encounter into a sadomasochistic one. It is upsetting that Lynch doesn’t explore this relationship more, focusing instead on his satire of suburban life.

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This early on, it is clear there are two different worlds in the movie. The first world Lynch introduces us to is the one in Lumberton, a run-of-the-mill suburban American town full of clichés that seems to be straight out of a 1950s sitcom. The second is the surreal story of emotional and psychological slavery of Dorothy, whose husband and child have been kidnapped by the perverted Frank, making her his sexual slave.

The twist here is the backward pleasure she finds within this situation and is probably one of the most disturbing, incredible things that Lynch portrays best in Blue Velvet, of which Rossellini’s acting has a lot to do with. Her mesmerising delivery almost doesn’t belong in this badly handled film, where the reality seems too sarcastic and takes away from the serious register the more violent scenes deserve. This is a recurring feeling throughout the film, as between the bland, monotone conversations of these small-town suburbanites, Lynch clumsily adds disturbing scenes where Rossellini is stripped, hit and humiliated.

A vibrant palette of colours make Blue Velvet a hypnotic experience. From the plush blue velvet background as the credits roll on screen to the idyllic red and yellow flowers and green gardens, it is a feast for the eyes. Equally, the soundscape Lynch perfects is quite powerful and penetrating. At the end of the film, you will find yourself very aware of your hearing. The soundtrack alone is something out of a dream, including of course Bobby Vinton’s ‘Blue Velvet’ and Roy Orbison’s ‘Dreams’. Similar to another surreal film of Lynch’s, Mulholland Drive, the use of one of Orbison’s hit songs is used in the form of an actor flawlessly miming the lyrics in a performative way.

Blue Velvet has most certainly aged, already seeming old-fashioned in its initial year of release, but it has aged well. The performances are superb, and the soundtrack and cinematography are well worth the experience of seeing it on the big screen.

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Review: The Red Turtle

A story that transcends time, language and culture

Studio Ghibli’s comeback centers around a stranded young man who’s only company is a domesticated group of crabs, battling with solitude, surrealism and finding serenity in his reality. Shipwrecked, the initial part of the movie follows the young man day and night as he comes to terms with what has happened to him. Determined to leave the island, he builds a sturdy raft made from bamboo (a major fixture in the landscape of the island), yet at every attempt to sail away, a mysterious marine being destroys his makeshift vessel. The tension builds and builds, coming to head when the man encounters the titular Red Turtle on the sand, turning it over on its shell to die in an act of warranted frustration. What happens next is the beginning of a mystical journey and is a fantastic piece of non-verbal story-telling.

The Red Turtle’s lack of a tangible plot will turn off certain viewers, as the story is more about the underlying meaning of the experience and journey than a neatly tied up ending. The story is not about him returning to civilisation, but more to do with his acceptance of the situation and his experiences on this fruitful island. The beauty in this wordless tale is most certainly the lucid-dreaming effect it produces on the viewer.

Avoiding over-saturation in all areas, the artwork is striking in its minimalism and refinement of details. Vivid colour palettes help contribute towards a fuller immersion into the magical realism of this story. To reinforce this, Dudok De Wit’s choice to emphasise the island’s isolation add to the viewer’s dreamlike state, which permits the more fantastical events that occur to be unquestioned.

Laurent Perez del Mar’s soundtrack seamlessly fills the space and need for dialogue, perfectly tailored to the emotional waves of the film. The music feels almost spiritual, again transporting us from any notion of this film being one-dimensional.

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During the film, I frequently found myself associating the atmosphere and deeper existential journey with much of Haruki Murakami’s literature and the vivid pictures he creates. Both Murakami and The Red Turtle merged western and Asian themes, creating culturally rich stories. Similar elements to Murakami’s magical realism such as giving animals a human-like depth or making the surreal believable are present in The Red Turtle. The film’s effect reminded me that many readers of Murakami have stated the experience of reading his work is the closest they have come to lucid-dreaming.

As much as the film is enchanting, one can but wonder what the underlying meaning to this fable is. Our main character starts off utterly alone on the island, which I perceived as the man’s inability to forge social connections around him in society. The Red Turtle can be seen as another person before he makes the connection (or in other words a stranger). When the shell cracks, it is the beginning of the connection being made. He then finds life more bearable and stops trying to leave.

The non-existence of dialogue or narration and universal theme of Man’s basic need for companionship used together makes The Red Turtle a unique film that transcends boundaries of language, culture and age, all of whom can in one way or another identify with the story at hand.

It is inevitable that one will be left pondering the larger questions of life, such as what it means to be human, what makes Man desire social interaction contrasted to the need for solitude and the fragile balance of one’s reality. The major theme that contains all these sub-interrogations is the cycle of life: birth, death and re-birth. The Red Turtle is the acknowledgement of Nature’s way of always restoring balance in life, and how death is an integral part of that.

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Review: I Am Not Your Negro

“The story of the Negro in America is the story of America. It is not a pretty story.”

When James Baldwin died in 1987, he left behind not only some of America’s finest literature and frustratingly, an unfinished novel whose working title was intended to be ‘Remember This House’. which consisted of A mere collection of notes, documents and a manuscript. Director Raoul Peck took on the heavy task to pick up the pieces of Baldwin’s final literary effort.

What Peck understood from these writings was the essence of Baldwin’s philosophy—his lifelong demand to be his own man in a society that makes him experience his life through his skin colour. The way he sees it, the African-American has always been the White Man’s slave, and now slavery is abolished, subconsciously does not want break down the mental barrier that is the construct of “whiteness” and “blackness”.

At its core, ‘Remember This House’ was a personal insight into the lives of three great men deeply involved in the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s in America: Martin Luther King, Medgar Evers, and Malcolm X. Each bringing three very different ideologies and approaches to the struggle for civil rights, they were predictably all murdered before the age of forty. In a rare appearance on television, Baldwin encapsulated very neatly white America’s most ingrained double-standard: “If any white man in the world says, ‘Give me liberty or give me death,’ the entire white world applauds,” Baldwin accurately states. “When a black man says exactly the same thing, he is judged a criminal and treated like one and everything possible is done to make an example of this bad nigger so there won’t be any more like him.”

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Peck attempts to explore the problematic position Baldwin caught up in amidst the Civil Rights movement, and almost succeeds. The film loses in dramatic effect as Peck draws links between Baldwin’s take on the Civil Rights movement of the sixties and race relations in America today. The emphasis is intended to show how these issues are all very much still relevant today. For me, Peck over-relies on Samuel L. Jackson’s mainstream appeal to narrate in order to captivate the viewer’s interest, and in addition to this has resort to small fragments of contemporary footage which results in a collage of vague notions and angles on the subject of race.

It is important to realise that not being on either side of the civil rights’ spectrum, he was not quite as popular as more extreme icons such as Malcom X or Martin Luther King. In the late fifties and early sixties especially, the mainstream movement struggled to identify with Baldwin’s words, due to the complexity of his arguments or his homosexuality. This included the likes of Martin Luther King, banning the “inflammatory” James Baldwin from appearing in the 1963 March in Washington, along with Black Panther Eldridge Cleaver who made numerous homophobic comments regarding Baldwin.

Many of Baldwin’s fears and uncertainties about the “negro’s” future in America run parallel with those of Ta-Nehisi Coates, which he has expressed in his recent letter to his son, “Between the World and Me” (2015). The letter’s central theme is America’s systematic destruction of the black body and its key place in the building of America’s economy. Baldwin stresses how these three influential men, seen as a threat to the social hierarchy of the White supremacist, were all killed and “destroyed” before they could fulfill their true potential.

“I Am Not Your Negro” is an essential piece of documentation and a commendable effort at carrying out the assessment of the African-American’s place in a society that built itself on slavery and a denial of civil rights. The documentary shows that it is the change in mental approach to race relations that needs to be achieved, and we are still a long way from attaining this as the recent “Black Lives Matter” movement has shown.

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HOME Spotlight: Rose

An 80 year old Rose gives us an insight into her experience as a Jewish woman in the 20th Century

11117831_806877179407791_1047848895505030855_nAs new members of the HOME volunteer team in Manchester, James and myself were lucky enough to see Dame Janet Suzman’s latest and most wonderful performance of Rose, written by Martin Sherman and directed by Richard Beecham.

An eighty-year-old Rose sits alone in what could be referred to as a ‘memory space’, dressed head to toe in black as she recounts her tumultuous life that took place over the twentieth century. From a Jewish background, Rose grew up in a small Ukrainian shtetl (village), experiencing the horror of pogroms and famine. Adventurous, free-spirited and eager to escape the dreariness of her current life, she eventually seizes the chance to leave her shtetl, joining her brother and his wife in Warsaw.

Suddenly our Rose is a young woman in a vibrant, beautiful city, she eats cake in cafés and falls in love. Too soon these are but bittersweet memories, the religion she never believed in catching up with her and somehow have made her a target of Hitler’s Nazis and the terrible Warsaw Ghetto. The Rose that stands before us remembers everything, as much as she tries to repress it.

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When the war finally ends, like many others in her situation, the promise of Palestine is on her lips. “Exodus 1947” her boat from France reads, and the Americans sailing them self-proclaim themselves as their saviours. One of them is a young man from New Jersey, and falls in love with Rose. His last name just so happens to be ‘Rose’, and turns out to be her ticket to freedom, or to America.

She describes New Jersey in the fifties and the description coupled with the minimal atmospheric use of lights takes us there. There are so many Jewish people Rose tells us, all with a slight look of guilt in their demeanour. No one wants to hear about what went on in the ghettos and extermination camps in Europe, not yet.

Rose begins to live what you could call the American Dream. She works hard and starts a family, builds up her reputation in the hotel industry as the very singular ‘Rose Rose’. She tells us of her experiences of life in America, seemingly miles away from the trauma she so recently went through.

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For the two hours of the show, Suzman’s performance and storytelling gift had me utterly wrapped up in Rose’s world and emotions.

Now onto James’ thoughts:

Before we took our seats I was worried that I would not enjoy it. Having never been to a single performer show it was a completely new experience for me. However everybody I spoke to about Rose said it was fantastic and I have to say I agree with them entirely.

Dame Suzman immediately filled the stage with her presence, extinguishing all the worries that I had. The set was incredibly minimal, (first one, then many benches) but had a profound meaning that became clear as she explained her life story. Rose has cemented itself as one of the best theatre shows I have seen and I simply cannot recommend it enough!

Interview: Enemies Within

A much needed look into the consequences of France’s colonial past

French director Selim Azzazi brought his captivating short “Enemies Within” to the Lift-Off film festival this year in Manchester. Over a run-time of 27 minutes the audience could very well be watching a play due to Azzazi’s attention to detail, sharp dialogue and use of only 2 lead characters in one space. These elements emphasize the multiple layers to this necessary short about the scars of France’s colonial past.

After asking Azzazi himself questions on the subject of “Enemies Within”, we begin to delve into these layers, and if you would like to read a review of the short click here.

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Beginning with the production process, Azzazi explained that it started in May 2015, gathering around €100 000 through the CNC’s financing (French National Centre for Cinema). This allowed them to pay every crew member and build a set. An important aspect this budget allowed them was to rehearse for two weeks with the two actors, “just like we would for a play”.

As the subject has such depth and the actors’ performances are so gripping, I could have imagined a full-length feature version being equally as powerful if it could hold the same high-standard throughout. But Azzazi had always imagined “Enemies Within” being a short film and was meant to remain that way, making it clear that he “never imagined or hoped on doing it a feature version”, and was always meant to be “only worked as a 20-30 minute intense duel”.

Despite only being a half hour long, the script took three years to write and to gather the financing, then taking ten months to produce entirely. This time was essential to the development and perfecting of details, such as the feeling of claustrophobia. Azzazi stated that “the sound was crucial in order to get that claustrophobic atmosphere”, turning the space into an anechoic chamber that absorbs sound instead of it reverberating.  To do so, they made use of “several huge velvet curtains” with which they surrounded the set, and hung large acoustic foams from the ceiling. The set’s location being in an unused government building, they managed to reduce the original cathedral like sound “to a very pure dry sound”. An important factor for Azzazi, in order to “enhance the feeling of claustrophobia for both the actors and the audience”.

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In an article published on the Qualia Films site, Azzazi mentioned rehearsing for a play that centred around the HUAC (House of Unamerican Activities Committee), and how he made the link between America’s despising of communism and their “enemies within” and France’s refusal to see Algerians as French, especially after the war of independence. I asked if he could go into more depth about how he felt the way HUAC dealt with communism in America was similar to how France dealt with Franco-Algerians, to which he replied:

“There are similarities in the way a society builds up the image of ‘an enemy from within’. In France for example it was the case after the 1870 war against Prussia after which many accused French-Jews to be responsible for the defeat. Antisemitism grew on that idea and it led to the Dreyfus case 1894. The same with the French -Muslims originating from North-Africa (mainly Algerians) especially when the independence war started in 1954. In the mind of many, every French-Muslim became a possible threat. So this idea that North-African people are a threat from within has been around for over 60 years now and it’s been very costly to our society (lack of integration, inequities, unemployment, riots, etc)”.

He also pointed out that it is easy to find the same mechanics in the Soviet system “with the ‘enemy of the people’ image”, in addition mentioning a British play he loves that deals with that called “Collaborators” by John Hodge.

Hassam Ghancy and Azzazi worked together as actors in an adaption of The Sunset Limited, of which the setting was also in a singular closed space. This was another source of inspiration for “Enemies Within”, with actors Hassam and Najib’s insight and feedback enhancing the quality of the script. On this subject, Azzazi responded that “great playwrights are always inspiring as they manage to bring characters to life from what they say/do or don’t say/do. So working as an actor was definitely crucial for me in order to grasp what writing was about. The same with working with Hassam: his feedback was very important to me because although he isn’t a writer, he could tell me when what he was reading didn’t feel right. He would say it with his own words, which would necessarily translate into answers for a writer, but which would point out problems to solve. It is very important when you have no experience to be able to trust the actors you work with. Both Hassam and Najib were dedicated to help me bring out the best of this script”.

“Enemies Within” is powerful because it’s topic is the much-ignored bloody colonial history of France, which led to questioning France’s trouble facing this past. Azzazi expressed disappointment and shame, observing that France’s political debates constantly overlook the subject. Azzazi does not mince words— “There is still a large amount of my fellow countrymen who refuse to acknowledge that the French military went into the undifferentiated slaughtering of a massive number of people in order to invade their land. You can call that however you’d like: the fact remains that the French army came to Africa and they burned, killed and expropriated. We have to live with this. Yes France also built cities, roads, railways and hospitals but it doesn’t wipe out the slaughtering. To get over this and happily live altogether with this common history will remain difficult if this isn’t at least acknowledged”.

This led to the government’s paranoia of enemies within the country, and looking at when this idea of enemies from within started. Azzazi located the French-Muslim target as a problem coming “at least from the Algerian independence war in the 50’s”. It is in fact from a book by French sociologist Mathieu Rigouste that covered this area called “L’ennemi intérieur”.

Whilst Azzazi could not divulge much about his future projects, he did say that he will “keep on writing about identity and the French colonial past but not only!”

His inspiration is fuelled by great plays and character driven stories, which led to me asking him which in particular touched him the most. Too many coming to mind, he settled for his three personal favourite playwrights: “Shakespeare – Ibsen – Pinter”.

Along the same lines but mostly just out of interest, I asked him for his personal top five films, responding “That’s very difficult to say. There are so many. All I can say is that my favourite films would involve Kurosawa, Truffaut, Hitchcock, Tarkovski, Lumet and The Monty Python!”.

“Enemies Within” is a rare window into the paranoia of the French government. Azzazi’s profound knowledge on the subject in addition to his background in theatre are very much what made this short such high quality.

Click here to go back to the Lift-Off Homepage to check out more reviews and interviews.

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