Here We Drowned Algerians – October 17th 1961.

The date mention in the film title, refers to the atrocities on the streets of Paris when a protest for independence by Algerians turned violent and the full depth of police brutality remained covered up for decades.

I knew nothing about this event prior to seeing the documentary.
What clearly is a pivotal moment in the history of independence, gets a fresh look because of the intrepid research of director Yasmina Adi.   She took it upon her to investigate archives, interview those who were there that night, and ultimately obtained stunning audio showing the appalling handling of the curfew protest by the police.

Edited amongst the photographs and television / newsreel footage from the era, as moving and heartbreaking testimonies from wives, whose husbands joined the rally and ultimately never returned.  The continual systematic imprisonment of a significant number of protesters, against their rights – is expertly documented in ‘Here We Drowned Algerians’.  I found the motives and decisions by the police to be appalling and inconceivable.  Adi’s documentary is compelling and disturbing, and powerfully uses first-hand accounts to deliver an astounding rebuke of the authority on that night.

Screening at the Dubai Film Festival in 2011, and winning second prize in Muhr Arabic Documentary category – ‘Here We Drowned Algerians’ is a shattering expose of evil and human right violations on the highest scale.

Seek this film out.

Score:  3.5 stars
Director: Yasmina Adi
Running Time: 90 mins
Language:  French with English subtitles

 

Herewedrownedlagerians

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