Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Venice 71: Film Festival – Loin des Hommes – David Oelhoffen

 Photograph courtesy La Biennale di Venezia
 Venice 71: Film Festival – Loin des Hommes – David Oelhoffen. Loin des Hommes directed by David Oelhoffen stars Viggo Mortensen and Reda Kateb. Algeria, 1954. While the rebellion rumbles in the valley, two very different men thrown together by a world in turmoil, are forced to flee together across the Atlas mountains. In the midst of an icy winter, Daru, the reclusive teacher, has to escort Mohamed, a villager accused of murder. Pursued by horsemen seeking summary justice and vengeful settlers, the two men decide to affront the unknown. Together, they fight to gain their freedom.

Photograph ASAC courtesy La Biennale di Venezia

Loin des Hommes. Director’s Statement. “From my very first reading of Camus’ short story L’hote, I visualized a western. Admittedly, an unconventional western, being steeped in European history and set against the backdrop of the North African highlands, but a western all the same. True to the codes, there are colonizers and the colonized, a prisoner to be escorted and a plot that spirals into violence. A collision between two systems of law is at the heart of the story and its characters. We bear witness to two cultures and two moralities forced into coexistence by history. I had dreamed of bringing Viggo Mortensen on board; his singularity made him the perfect fit for the role. Reda Kateb, mysterious, opaque and earthy, provided a perfect counterpoint. The desert landscape takes on the role of an additional character in the story. Basking in the radiant North African light, it was a beautiful but unpredictable companion for the film.”
Above. Reda Kateb, David Oelhoffen and Viggo Mortensen.
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