favorite movies: Zero Dark Thirty (2012)

“ - I didn’t even want to use you guys, with your dip and velcro and all your gear bullshit. I wanted to drop a bomb. But people didn’t believe in this lead enough to drop a bomb. So they’re using you guys as canaries. And, in theory, if bin Laden isn’t there, you can sneak away and no one will be the wiser. But bin Laden is there. And you’re going to kill him for me. ” 

Writer/director David Oelhoffen has a special film on his hands because it’s powerful tale begs audience members to learn more about the subject. I’m not talking about the fictional character of Daru (Viggo Mortensen) secluding himself in the mountains to teach young Arab children how to read while civil war wages on or his unwitting ward of the state Mohamed (Reda Kateb) awaiting trial in Tinguit for murdering his cousin. I’m referencing the backdrop—where those mountains are and the “why” of the ongoing rebellion amidst them that spans two ethnicities, two languages, multiple races, and one common goal of freedom.

While I approached with little knowledge of Algeria’s state in 1954, I was able to get dropped into Oelhoffen’s story and let it unfold without preconceptions or historical bearing. To me Daru was a complete mystery—a Frenchman refusing to choose sides as both French and Arab attempted to force him. A man living in his school house alone to prove quite literally Far From Men as the title reads. He doesn’t want war, doesn’t want to win the country, or remove an entire people born in it just like he was. Daru’s fight is to educate the next generation of children away from the hate, entitlement, and bitter rivalry. If he can teach them to have a place in both worlds, perhaps peace can be real.

Read our full TIFF review.


Extrait QUI VIVE de Marianne Tardieu (ACID CANNES 2014)

NICK CAVE AND WARREN ELLIS - LOIN DES HOMMES Nick Cave and Warren Ellis have written an original film score for Loin des Hommes (Far From Men) – a French film written and directed by David Oelhoffen, set in Algeria’s Atlas mountains in 1954 and starring Viggo Mortensen and Reda Kateb. The film will premiere in the official competition of the “Mostra”, Venice Film Festival on 1st September before it’s North American premiere in the “Special Presentation” selection at the Toronto International Film Festival a few days later. Above is a first glimpse at the film.

Far from Men (2014)
“Loin des hommes” (original title)

Algeria, 1954. Two very different men thrown together by a world in turmoil are forced to flee across the Atlas mountains. Daru, the reclusive teacher, has to escort Mohamed, a villager accused of murder.

Director: David Oelhoffen
Writers: Albert Camus (short story: L'Hôte), Antoine Lacomblez (collaboration), 1 more credit »
Stars: Viggo Mortensen, Reda Kateb, Djemel Barek | See full cast and crew »