A group of Catholic monks reside in the monastery of Tibhirine, where they live in harmony with the largely muslim population of Algeria. When a bloody conflict between Algeria’s army and Muslim Jihadi insurgents disrupts the peace, they are forced to consider fleeing the monastery and deserting the villagers they have ministered to. In the face of deadly violence the monks wrestle with their faith and their convictions, eventually deciding to stay and help their neighbours keep the army and the insurgents at bay.
“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. [Synopsis courtesy of ComingSoon]
IV century… Egypt under the Roman Empire… Violent religious upheaval in the streets of Alexandria spills over into the city’s legendary Library. Trapped within its walls, the brilliant astronomer, Hypatia, fights, with the help of her disciples, to save the wisdom of the Ancient World… Among those disciples, the two men who are fighting for her heart: the witty, privileged Orestes and Davus, Hypatia’s young slave who is torn between his secret love for her and the freedom he knows can be his if he chooses to join the unstoppable surge of the Christians. [Courtesy of the Cannes Film Festival.]
As a young man, Frenchman Raymond Borremans (1906–1988) felt drawn to Africa – not as your common-or-garden colonist but rather as someone looking to get away from Europe. This experimental cinematic portrait draws connections between the unusual biography of this adventurer, musician and lepidopterologist and the Africa of the present day. Borremans’ reflections on and questions and observations about his Africa are modern, abstract, shrewd and personal: an unobtrusive voiceover interwoven with images and scenes from the present to create a filmic dialogue. The hotel lobby, the archive, the Niger River, soldiers, music, streets, smugglers, fearless animals making their way over hot concrete. Borremans made Ivory Coast his second home and compiled an encyclopedia there. It is here that the film finds the numerous traces Borremans left behind, people who knew him well. He apparently had premonitions of the madness that was to befall this rich West African country between then and now. [Synopsis courtesy of Berlinale]
Secrets, rumors and betrayals surround the upcoming marriage between a young dissolute man and virtuous woman of the French aristocracy.