« An Algerian Dream » (commentary 24th Cambridge Festival)

This powerful documentary tells the story of a man who returns to his country for the first time since 1965.

Henri Alleg, one of the heroes of the Algerian War of Independence and world-famous author of thr best-selling book “La Question” (1958) accompanies film-maker Jean-Pierre Lledo on a voyage to Algeria, where he re-encounters old comrades and sites of war and torture from the colonial epoch.
Profondly powerful and filled with emotion, Un Rêve Algérien (An Algerian Dream) has earned acclaim for its poignant portrayal of the last living heroes of one of the most important wars in history.
Lledo himself has been living in France in exile since 1993, and his nostalgia and love for Algeria emerges through the relationship he establishes, through his camera, with his country and comrades.

Veteran Africa watcher and documentary filmmaker jean-Pierre Lledo profiles the deeply committed and passionate Henri Alleg, the retired publisher of Alger Republicain, Algeria’s strongest public voice for independence during the tumultuous period prior to the country’s violent war of liberation with France.

As the now quite elderly man relates his emprisonment and torture as the hands of  colonialist powers in the 1950s, Algerian history is brought vividly to life.

“Alleg, who published Algeria’s one truly independent newspaper during French colonial rule, is a fascinating figure….

Jean-Pierre lledo’s documentary follows the aged Alleg around contemporary Algeria as he meets old friends and relives the past.
There are interesting memories here… Born into an English Jewish family as Harry Salem, Alleg became a naturalized French citizen and travelled the world before moving to Algiers in the 1940s.

The famine, disease and miners’ strike he witnessed fed his Marxist ideas, and from 1950-55 he was editor-in-chief of the widely read (and censored) anti-colonialist daily Alger Republicain. Imprisoned and tortured by the French army, he revealed their use of torture in his book “The Question”, published in 1958 at the height of Algeria’s war for independence.

A chipper, kind-hearted, intelligent fellow, Alleg makes a wonderful documentary subject…

Seen through his eyes, Algerian history comes alive is viewed as a betrayal of a multi-ethnic dream.

Deborah Young, Variety (United Kingdom)

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