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Free Men [DVD]

Tahar Rahim , Michael Lonsdale , IsmaŽl Ferroukhi    Suitable for 12 years and over   DVD
3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
Price: £6.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Product details

  • Actors: Tahar Rahim, Michael Lonsdale, Mahmud Shalaby
  • Directors: IsmaŽl Ferroukhi
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 12
  • Studio: Artificial Eye
  • DVD Release Date: 24 Sep 2012
  • Run Time: 99 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0085NGM7O
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 57,989 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Product Description

1942, in German-occupied Paris. Tahar Rahim ('A Prophet') stars as Younes - a young Algerian rogue, living on the wrong side of the law selling goods to fellow North African immigrants on the black market. In a time of oppression and radicalism, Younes is loyal only to himself and his family back home to whom he sends money regularly. His aim is simple - he plans to survive long enough to accumulate enough money to return home a rich man.


But his life changes when the police raid his apartment block, taking all of his contraband and arresting him. A deal is placed on the table: Become a spy at the local Mosque, or face an indefinite time in prison. At the Mosque, Younes meets the Algerian singer Salim Halali, and is moved by Salim s beautiful voice and strong personality. A deep friendship develops, and soon after Younes discovers that Salim is Jewish.


As Younes goes deeper undercover into the Mosque, keeping a close eye on rector Si Kaddour Ben Ghabrit (Michael Lonsdale), he becomes drawn into a dangerous and morally complex situation - and must face a dilemma between serving his own best interests, or putting himself in mortal danger to save the lives of innocent people.

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Customer Reviews

3.2 out of 5 stars
3.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wartime Paris, when unlikely friendships form 9 Aug 2012
This wartime French-language drama freely mixes actual people and events with a fictional narrative, about Younes, a young Algerian man scratching a living in Nazi-occupied Paris. Free Men follows a conventional narrative, exploring Younes' rite of passage from naÔve, self-interested youth towards a manhood honed by the relentless impact of the Gestapo jackboot on the people around him.
Initially he looks out only for himself and his immediate family, not hesitating to trade on the black market and take advantage of any deal, at the expense of anyone else including penniless compatriots. When first pressed by the Vichy police to spy at the local mosque his reticence isn't on moral grounds - his discomfort stems from his lack of experience and fear of being caught. At the start of the film, Younes would apparently sell anyone to save his own skin. By the end of it he is ... different. He finds a cause to defend, sometimes running the ultimate risk and taking the ultimate action.

Interwoven with the main plot are many other intriguing threads and characters; Vichy collaborators, Nazi officers, Muslims, Jews, Christians, spivs, resistance fighters, communists, spies, snitches, fugitives, traitors, criminals, children and innocents - with the theme of discovered brotherhood at the film's core. We're left to wonder if the Imam and rector are helping Jews to escape (by providing them with false identities as Muslims) simply because it is the right thing to do... or if they have one eye on a postwar future in which Algeria would want to claim its independence from France.
That's part of what makes Free Men so satisfying.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Muslims save Jews in this French War time Drama 28 Sep 2012
By Tommy Dooley TOP 100 REVIEWER
This is the story of Younes (Tahir Rahim -`A Prophet') he plays a small time Algerian, black marketer in German occupied Paris circa 1942. He gets caught by the collaborationist French Gendarmes and in return for not being jailed (or worse) is told he has to spy on the Paris Mosque. The authorities believe it is being used as a centre to protect `undesirables' and for giving out false documents to aid people fleeing the Nazi rule. At the mosque he meets a talented Arabic singer Salim Halali (Mahumud Shalaby), and Younes is moved by his singing and forceful personality so starts to view his world with very differently.

He also gets involved in helping those he had once lived off /exploited, as he becomes more aware of the plight of those who are being persecuted, he turns from being a self centred, money making merchant into a committed `freedom fighter'. The mosque is central to the whole thing and the leader there is played by Michael Lonsdale (`Of Gods and Men' and `Ronin') who as ever delivers an impeccable performance.

This film shows a remarkable part of history where the Muslims helped Jews escape the Nazi tyranny and as such should be praised for highlighting such a story, but it has got some critics, despite doing rather well on `Rotten Tomatoes' there are still some valid criticisms, one being the lack of tension. That could be because a lot of what takes place is ordinary every day life at the mosque, or the little on screen time of the Nazis and their ally Gendarmes'. This is much more character driven than action and that too could explain it being called `shapeless and sluggish- (The Daily Telegraph). I thought it was a quietly moving story that was directed extremely well by IsmaŽl Ferroukhi.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Very Different Resistance Story 10 Mar 2014
Set in great part in the Grande Mosquée de Paris, hard by the Jardin des Plantes and the Les Arènes de Lutèce I started watching the film on the rather simple basis that I walked past the mosque many times taking my children to the Bone Museum (as we called it) when we visited Paris. The story concerns the activities of Algerians in the Resistance and in the rescuing of French Jews from the twin threat of the Germans and the French Police. A number of the main characters are based on real people and it is an episode I had not formerly known. It is especially poignant to think that many of these muslin resistants ended up fighting the French in Algeria a few years later; already in the film one can see this foreshadowed. A nice turn by Michael Lonsdale (best known perhaps as the villainous Hugo Drax) as Si Kaddour Ben Ghabrit, the rector of the mosque and real life recipient of the Grand Cross of the Legion d'Honneur.
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