French Film Festival UK Review: Home Front

Young soldiers in Algeria

Whilst Europe might have prospered financially from its colonies, the decades of misrule and abuse have left lasting scars. The process of independence has been a natural evolution for some but in other instances has been incredibly fractious. This was the case in Algeria where French rule began in 1830 and culminated with the Algerian War of Independence which ended in 1962. Ripples from this conflict still flow through la République. As is the case in Lucas Belvaux’s new film, Home Front.

In 1960, twenty-year-old cousins Bernard (Yoann Zimmer) and Rabat (Edouard Sulpice), along with others from their small town are drafted into the army. What they experience and see in North Africa changes their lives. Forty years later, the embittered and pugnacious Bernard’s (Gérard Depardieu) arrival at his sister’s (Catherine Frot) birthday party brings tensions to a head. A conflict Rabat (Jean-Pierre Darroussin) fears will spill over.

Adapted from Laurent Mauvignier’s award-winning novel (Des hommes), Home Front is a powerful drama which tackles the lasting repercussions of the Algerian War on French society. Whilst the format does struggle at times to impart the narrative, juggling dual timelines and several raconteurs, an impressive cast ensure that the drama hits home hard. Indeed, Home Front is a well-crafted story which tackles an unspoken subject in a rounded and engaging way.

Home Front screens at French Film Festival UK.

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