Rebellion

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L’ordre et la morale

“Kassovitz’s fact-based Rebellion muscularly fulfills the duties of a war movie, a historical reckoning and a political intervention.” — Rob Nelson, Variety

Year: 2011
Country: France
Running time: 136 mins
Censor Rating: M - violence, offensive language

Producers: Christophe Rossignon, Philip Boëffard
Screenplay: Mathieu Kassovitz, Pierre Geller, Benoît Jaubert. Based on the book by Philippe Legorjus
Photography: Marc Koninckx
Editors: Mathieu Kassovitz, Thomas Beard, Lionel Devuyst
Music: Klaus Badelt
In French and Kanak, with English subtitles
CinemaScope/DCP

With: Mathieu Kassovitz (Captain Philippe Legorjus), Iabe Lapacas (Alphonse Dianou), Malik Zidi (JP Perrot), Alexandre Steiger (Jean Bianconi), Daniel Martin (Bernard Pons), Jean-Philippe Puymartin (General Jérôme), Philippe de Jacquelin Dulphé (Squad General Vidal), Philippe Torreton (Christian Prouteau), Sylvie Testud (Chantal Legorjus)

Festivals: Toronto, Busan, London 2011; San Francisco 2012

In his most visceral and impassioned outing since 1995’s La Haine, Mathieu Kassovitz dramatises the extraordinary French military response to a New Caledonia hostage-taking in 1988.

Starring as Philippe Legorjus, a captain in an elite counterterrorist division hastily dispatched to the Pacific territory, Kassovitz leads a uniformly excellent cast. Upon arrival he discovers that the French army has been deployed too. Legorjus’ efforts to achieve a resolution through negotiation with the indigenous Kanak independence group clash with the blunter approach of the army and a different agenda from above. His attempts to earn the trust of the hostage takers’ leader, depicted in scenes of searing intensity, are constantly imperilled by a political battle playing out in Paris. Prime Minister Jacques Chirac is challenging François Mitterrand for the presidency, and the distant conflict has become a central issue. Chirac is determined that the rebellion be quelled, by whatever means. And time is running out. 

Based on Legorjus’ memoir, Rebellion has all the seat-edge energy of a thriller, buttressed by a real political heft. It delivers a gripping illustration of the bloody, expedient and far-reaching potential impact of colonial powers’ internal political squabbles. — TM 

“Displaying all the earmarks of a tightly made action drama, with effective topnotch camera work, nervous editing to pump energy in every scene, a cast driven to perform at full steam and an off-screen narration bridging eventual gaps, Kassovitz’s film inexorably moves ahead towards a pre-ordained climax.” — Dan Fainaru, Screendaily

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