“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]
The story takes place in current times, in a small village somewhere between North Africa and the Middle East. The women fetch water from a mountaintop spring in the blazing sun. They’ve done that since the beginning of time. Leila, a young bride, urges the women to launch a love strike: no more cuddling, no more sex until the men run water into the village. [Synopsis courtesy of the Cannes Film Festival]
26-year-old law student Farid has to go to Algeria to try and save his father’s house.
His discovers a country where he has never set foot and is gradually won over by a gallery of extraordinary characters whose humor and straightforwardness go straight to his heart. Among them his cousin, a quick-witted wheeler-dealer who dreams of making it to France. [Synopsis courtesy of Cannes]