March 16, 2012
Director: Ismael Ferroukhi
MPAA Rating: N/A
Starring: Michael Lonsdale, Tahar Rahim, Mahmoud Shalaby
Copyright Holder: N/A
"Free Men," based on real events, is about a Muslim Algerian immigrant living in Vichy France, whose unexpected friendship with a Jewish singer inspires him to join the Resistance, and put his own life in danger to save hundreds of Jews in the process. 1942, in German-occupied Paris. Younes, a young unemployed Algerian, earns his living as a black marketeer. Arrested by the French police but given a chance to avoid jail, Younes agrees to spy on the Paris Mosque. The police suspects the Mosque authorities, among which its rector Ben Ghabrit (Michael Lonsdale), of aiding Muslim Resistance agents, as well as helping North African Jews by giving them false certificates. At the Mosque, Younes meets the Algerian singer Salim Halali (Mahmoud Shalaby) and is moved by Salim’s beautiful voice and strong personality. A deep friendship develops, and soon after Younes discovers that Salim is Jewish. In spite of the risks it entails, Younes stops collaborating with the police, and gradually develops from being a politically ignorant immigrant worker into a fully-fledged freedom fighter.