Screened as part of NZIFF 2015

Far from Men 2014

Loin des hommes

Directed by David Oelhoffen

This gripping existential Western – North African style – sees Viggo Mortensen and Reda Kateb play two men battling to survive in 50s Algeria. Based on a story by Albert Camus and scored by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis.

France In Arabic and French with English subtitles
110 minutes CinemaScope / DCP
violence

Director

Producers

Marc Du Pontavice
,
Matthew Gledhill

Screenplay

David Oelhoffen. Based on the short story ‘The Guest’ by Albert Camus

Photography

Guillaume Deffontaines

Editor

Juliette Welfling

Production designer

Stéphane Taillasson

Costume designer

Khadija Zeggaï

Music

Nick Cave
,
Warren Ellis

With

Viggo Mortensen (Daru)
,
Reda Kateb (Mohamed)
,
Djemel Barek (Slimane)
,
Vincent Martin (Balducci)
,
Nicolas Giraud (Lieutenant Le Tallec)
,
Jean-Jérôme Esposito (Francis)
,
Hatim Sadiki (Abdelkader)
,
Yann Goven (Rene)
,
Antoine Régent (Claude)
,
Sonia Amori (prostitute)
,
Antoine Laurent (French soldier)

Festivals

Venice
,
Toronto
,
London 2014
,
Rotterdam
,
Tribeca 2015

Elsewhere

Featuring a fine performance from Viggo Mortensen and an original soundtrack by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis, Far from Men is a tense tale of honour and friendship that bears all the hallmarks of a classic frontier Western, not least in its vast Algerian desert setting. The year is 1954; the war is beginning and village schoolteacher Daru (Mortensen), an ex-French Army soldier, is caught in the crossfire. Born in Algeria but Spanish by lineage, he’s perceived as alien by both locals and colonisers alike. He’s obliged by the French police to escort a dissident (Reda Kateb, A Prophet) to a regional court to face trial for murder. Skirmishes with groups of soldiers, locals and rebels are fraught with suspicion and danger, constantly forcing the question of where Daru’s loyalties truly lie.

Based on ‘The Guest’, a short story by Albert Camus, writer/director David Oelhoffen’s drama underplays its contemporary relevance to resonant effect.

Far from Men is a quietly grand, beautiful film… Taking the conventions of Western films to different countries, planets, time periods or political situations is hardly new, but when it’s done well, it never gets old… It’s an intimate story of personal duty and the power of friendship that nonetheless unfolds against a huge backdrop, a contrast in scale that is a characterizing element of a great genre Western. And Guillaume Deffontaines’ luxuriant photography mirrors that contrast, expending just as much care in the lighting of faces and expressions as in the luscious widescreen desert and mountain vistas.” — Jessica Kiang, The Playlist