24 Days (24 Jours)

This tense policier based on true events captures what some consider a pivotal moment in a wave of anti-Semitic sentiment and violence that swept France. The 1986 kidnapping of 24-year-old Ilan Halimi by a suburban Parisian gang of thugs became a cause célèbre because of the anti-Semitic nature of the crime. Director Arcady based his film on a book by the abducted man’s mother, Ruth Halimi, in order to refocus attention on the Halimi family. He notes, “I noticed a tendency in France to focus on the perpetrators instead of the victims. Making this film was my way of setting things straight.” The production was allowed to shoot inside Paris police headquarters and other authentic locations where crucial events transpired. The police team regarded the nearly 700 ransom calls made to Ilan’s father as their main clue to the perpetrators’ psychology. But Ruth finds other information more significant, something that the authorities are regretfully too slow to recognize. [Synopsis courtesy of Palm Springs International Film Festival]

Trapped (Piégé)

Sergeant Denis Quillard is a man who prefers to keep his feet on the ground. Literally. After a lightning ambush leaves his entire patrol gunned down, he is left alone in the middle of the desert with a truckload of Afghan heroin. Oh, and one other thing: he is also standing on an old Russian era double-trigger landmine. As in, one move and you are dead. [Synopsis courtesy of COLCOA]