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Fact Based French tale of the Kanak rebellion
on 14 September 2013
The latest film from Mathieu Kassovitz `The Fifth Element', `La Haine' and `The Lookout' to name but a few. He acts, directs, produces and stars in this production and usually with so much control a film suffers but not so in this case. He takes as his subject real events that took place on the French colonial island of New Caledonia back in April of 1998. Kanak separatists wanted to break from mother France and so staged an attack on a gendarme barracks capturing the garrison- some sixty officers. Unfortunately some gendarmes were killed in the assault. The rest were divided into two groups and taken into captivity.
Meanwhile back in France the CIGN have been ordered in to rescue the hostages. They are led by Capitaine du GIGN Philippe Legorjus played by; well yes you guessed it Mathieu Kassovitz. However, once they get there they find that the army have also arrived along with a ton of equipment and the place looks like a preparation for war as opposed to a hostage negotiation. The army are also in command and the CIGN are under their control. Meanwhile back in France the election is on and the two antagonists were Mitterand and Jaques Chirac. There is no appetite for French policeman to be held hostage as this is seen as a vote loser, so the army are under strict orders to end the crisis with all haste and especially before polling day.
The Kanaks are portrayed as having been pushed into a corner by the French and have seen their island ravaged for nickel extraction, they just want independence and do not want violence. What ensues is a story that is hardly well known; I found it hard to find anything about it and very little on the Kanak people themselves. It is though a very good piece of cinema. It has a big budget feel to it and enough action, intrigue and emotion to keep you hooked through-out. Whist I can not attest to the veracity of the film as presented it does make for a very interesting watch indeed. Originally released as "L'ordre et la morale", this is in French with good English sub titles and a run time of 136 minutes. If you like your European cinema to have a bit of action, politics and some historical content with a dollop of moralising, then this is for you.