Des hommes

Des hommes
Running time:101 minutes
Director:Lucas Belvaux
Release date:02 june 2021

Mulder's Review

Lucas Belvaux's new film Des Hommes risks reopening some secret wounds for a whole generation of adults who lived through the war in Algeria and left a part of themselves and their loved ones there. How can we not remain insensitive to this story taking place in the past as well as in the present and telling us the story of Des hommes from a small village who went to war in Algeria and came back forever bruised. By adapting Laurent Mauvignier's eponymous novel, Lucas Belvaux tells us a universal story, that of French soldiers plunged into the horror of a war in which many men were tortured, humiliated or have a part of their humanity.

Yet nothing at the beginning of the film foreshadowed such atrocities, even though Bernard (Gérard Depardieu) wanted to offer his sister Solange (Catherine Frot) a brooch to reanimate the secret wounds linked to his military past on the occasion of his birthday. Once again after the excellent Rapt (2009), Chez nous (2017), Lucas Belvaux continues to probe human behavior and how individuals are forever marked by events beyond them. The reenactment of the Algerian War is certainly minimalist here, in particular by showing a garrison where several men were tortured, but the director's undeniable know-how as a storyteller means that we become attached to the characters and follow this tale which takes place alternately in the past and the present.

Through his filmography, the director and screenwriter Lucas Belvaux has always preferred subjects that are close to his heart rather than proposing comedies or dramas that are general public and often meaningless and only serve to put popular actors forward. It is the story that remains at the center of the film. It is the actors who are perfectly at ease with the story and who make their contribution so that it is meaningful and thought-provoking. His previous film Chez nous also dealt with an important subject, that of the rise in power of extremist parties. In this film, the director's view of the Algerian war shows once again his way of trying to remain realistic at all times.

Des hommes benefit from the presence of an excellent cast including Gérard Depardieu, Catherine Frot and Jean-Pierre Darroussin. The character of Bernard camped by Gérard Depardieu seems a frustrated being whose strength makes him feared and uncontrollable. When the wounds of the past resurface, he can no longer control his instincts and commits the unforgivable. The many frustrations of his character in no way forgives his actions but shows us how a man marked by the past can become a bad person. If Des hommes are so accurate it is because at no time does it seek to be full of it, it simply tells a strong and perfectly interpreted story.

Des hommes
Written and Directed by Lucas Belvaux
Produced by David Frenkel, Patrick Quinet
Starring Gérard Depardieu, Catherine Frot, Jean-Pierre Darroussin, Yoann Zimmer, Félix Kysyl, Edouard Sulpice, Clotilde Mollet, Fleur Fitoussi, Ahmed Hammoud, Michel Ferracci, Mikaël Halimi
Cinematography: Guillaume Deffontaines
Edited by Ludo Troch
Production companies : Synecdoche, Artémis Productions, France 3 Cinéma
Distributed by Ad Vitam (France)
Release date: November 11, 2020 (France)
Running time: 101 minutes

Seen on September 10, 2020 at the Centre International de Deauville

Mulder's Mark: