On the occasion of the release of “For France”, here are five things to know about this drama signed Rachid Hami, carried by Karim Leklou and Shaïn Boumedine.
For France by Rachid Hami
With Karim Leklou, Shain Boumedine, Lubna Azabal…
What is it about ? During an integration ritual in the prestigious Military School of Saint-Cyr, Aïssa, 23, loses her life. Faced with an Army struggling to recognize its responsibilities, Ishmael, his big brother, embarks on a battle for the truth. His investigation into the course of his younger brother will bring back his memories, from their childhood in Algiers to the last moments together in Taipei.
Birth of the project
Pour la France is based on a painful intimate episode in the family history of Rachid Hami, which occurred in October 2012 at the Special Military School of Saint-Cyr: the death of his little brother, Jallal Hami, following the organization of a hoarding imitating the landing in Provence in extreme conditions:
“My brother’s destiny is extraordinary. Jallal, a young man born in Algeria, Muslim, suburbanite, French and patriot, who after brilliant studies at Science-Po and TaiDa (Taiwan National University) joined the special military school of Saint-Cyr where he died through the fault of his comrades.”
“When the idea of making a film came to me in 2013, I realized the universality of the themes to be addressed: military engagement, integration, faith, representation of the suburbs, belonging to an increasingly more global…”says the director, continuing:
“In 2010, to complete his Master’s degree at Sciences-Po, Jallal went to learn traditional Mandarin at the prestigious TaiDa University (Taiwan National University). On a whim, I decided to meet him in Taipei. It was a unique moment when we were able to confront our differences, far from everything and everyone.”
“Since her death, this parenthesis has taken on a saving and tender meaning, but also a terribly political one. At a time when we see nationalism winning over France, it is necessary to tell stories like that of Jallal. She closes the door to number of clichés that poison public debate.”
– May 29, 1988: birth in Algiers of Jallal Hami.
– 1992: The Hami family flees the war in Algeria and settles in France.
– 2006: He joined the Sciences Po Paris school.
– 2008: He left for a gap year in Taiwan.
– August 2012: Jallal Hami is admitted to the Saint-Cyr Coëtquidan military school.
– Night of October 29 to 30, 2012: Organization of the hustle and bustle which imitates the landing in Provence in extreme conditions, crossing a pond in military uniform.
– October 30, 2012: The lifeless body of Jallal is found on the bank of the pond.
– November 23, 2020: Opening of the trial at the Criminal Court of Rennes. 7 soldiers and ex-soldiers are prosecuted for manslaughter.
– January 14, 2021: Verdict of the trial, 3 people sentenced to 6 to 8 months in prison, suspended. 4 people relaxed.
Rachid Hami said at the end of the trial: “This judgment tells the story of our country. Jallal was betrayed by his comrades and the justice system decided to protect them so that they would not be sentenced. Their sentences are suspended sentences and they will not be placed on their criminal record. It’s not going to change anything for them. My brother’s death is indelible, engraved on a piece of limestone at Père Lachaise.”
A size to the calibration
Élodie Ichter (Nomadland, Okja, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood…) came from Los Angeles to do the color grading (which consists of modifying the image to bring it to the result desired by the director) of Pour la France . “With her, we created three aesthetics for the film, one for each of the three parts. We also wanted to keep a common identity to give unity to the film, so we had to work in a subtle and nuanced way”recalls Rachid Hami.
Rachid Hami chose to shoot the parts of Algiers and Taipei with anamorphic lenses. The reasons ? Obtain a rounder image, detach the actors from the backgrounds with more pronounced blurs and benefit from a softer color reproduction.
“For the French part, we chose to shoot with spherical lenses, to obtain a more clinical, harsh and realistic image, with less pronounced blurring, in order to place the actors more in the sets, more in the present”says the director.
Rachid Hami wanted instinctive actors and actresses, able to inhabit their characters in a visceral way: “There is in the meeting between Karim Leklou and Ishmael the birth of a disturbing character, who has a form of rage contained in his gaze. But also a sweetness and a charming melancholy.”
“Shaïn Boumedine is a visceral actor, who brings opacity, hardness and vulnerability to Aïssa, which allows her to never fall into the hagiographic cliché. Lubna Azabal brought out in Nadia a strength, a courage, but also a touch of bad guilt-ridden faith, and a certain cruelty.”
“She allows me to escape the cliché of the grieving mother to build a much more complex character. And above all far from the clichés of the Arab and Muslim woman. Vivian Sung offers Julie’s character a light and a lightness that allows the film to earn a living”, says the filmmaker. He adds :
“Laurent Lafitte embodies General Caillard with humanity and nobility. The one who in a way symbolizes Aïssa’s dream and vision of the Army.”