Cannes film-makers urge France to face up to colonial past

Cannes film-makers urge France to face up to colonial past

Film-makers are holding up a mirror to France over its colonial past at the Cannes festival, helped by star power and a growing French readiness to face up to injustices committed notably in Africa.

The colonisation of Algeria and the horrors of the Algerian war of independence (1954-1962) .

Although President Emmanuel Macron has acknowledged crimes committed -- including a massacre by police of Algerians in Paris in 1961 which he called "inexcusable" -- his government has ruled out "presenting an apology" for France's colonial past.

His film "Les Harkis" tells the story of Algerians who fought alongside French troops against the independence movement, only to be left behind for the most part when France pulled out of Algeria, and facing the vengeance of the victorious Algerians.

Fellow director Mathieu Vadepied also warned against facile conclusions about France's forced recruitment of Senegalese soldiers for its World War I war effort."

"My idea is to put things into question," Vadepied told AFP. "Question France's historical relationship with its former colonies.

While rejecting any "frontally political" approach, he said that "if we deny the facts we can never move on, we need to tell these stories, everybody needs to know them."

Sy, the France-born son of west African immigrants, told the audience at the film's opening night: "We have the same story, but we don't have the same memories."

The second Cannes week will see the screening of "Nos Frangins" ("Our Brothers") by French director Rachid Bouchareb who in 2006 sparked a nationwide debate with "Indigenes" ("Days of Glory"), a film about the contribution of North African soldiers to the French Free Forces during World War II.

* Stories are edited and translated by Info3 *
Non info3 articles reflect solely the opinion of the author or original source and do not necessarily reflect the views of Info3