Posted by Staff in Aug 02,2015 with No Comments
Algeria, 1954. An early scene tells us the basics of what those words mean in a few lines of dialogue: the guerillas are attacking French settlers, killing them and their herds. The war for independence has begun, and it is dirty.
Daru (Viggo Mortensen) hears this from a settler who comes to tell him to leave his one-room schoolhouse in the Atlas mountains. Daru refuses, although he sends the children home early and checks his shotgun. The school sits in a small depression in the mountains, surrounded by bare hills. Barren does not describe it. We see no village. The children walk miles to attend. They are all Algerian, not French. There’s a sense of absurdity as we see them learning to identify the rivers of France from a map on the blackboard.
Far from Men is based on a story by Albert Camus, the Nobel-prize winning Algerian-French author who had a profound impact on the political and literary culture of his times. He died in a car crash in France in 1960, three years after he published Exile and the Kingdom, a collection of stories that contained The Guest, the basis for this film. David Oelhoffen, the French writer and director, takes the film far beyond what Camus wrote. Needs must, as the story never left the valley and its schoolhouse. The movie goes on the road – or rather, into the mountains, as Daru becomes a reluctant escort for an Arab prisoner. Read the rest of this entry »